FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, September 19, 2019
NYC PARKS AND THE PROSPECT PARK ALLIANCE BREAK GROUND ON NEW ENTRANCES TO PROSPECT PARK
The project set to feature the first new entrances to the park since the 1940s
NYC Parks Commissioner Mitchell J. Silver, FAICP, today joined Prospect Park Alliance President Sue Donoghue, City Council Majority Leader Laurie Cumbo, and the community to celebrate the start of construction on new entrances to Prospect Park along Flatbush Avenue -- the first new entrances to the park built since the 1940s. With overwhelming support from the community, Prospect Park Alliance received $3.2 million in funding from Mayor Bill de Blasio for this project through NYC Parks' Parks Without Borders initiative, which seeks to make parks more open by improving entrances, transforming underutilized areas, and creating vibrant public spaces.
“For the first time in more than seven decades, we’re giving New Yorkers a new way to enter one of the City’s most beloved parks,” said Commissioner Silver. “Thanks to the Mayor’s investment in Parks Without Borders we are changing the way parks intersect with the communities, and increasing accessibility. Upon its completion, this new entrance into Prospect Park will be a gateway for generations of families to come in and explore everything this historic park has to offer.”
“Prospect Park Alliance is committed to making the Park open and accessible to all communities bordering the Park," said Prospect Park Alliance President Sue Donoghue. "We are thrilled that so many community members came out in support of this project, and I want to thank Commissioner Silver and NYC Parks for their support and vision through Parks Without Borders. These new entrances will serve as an important gateway to the park for our east side communities, and to the park's northeast corner, a focal point of our future restoration efforts."
“The Parks Without Borders project on Flatbush Avenue perfectly complements my administration’s multi-million dollar investment in revitalizing the eastern and southern borders of Prospect Park, the crown jewel of our borough’s open space," said Borough President Eric L. Adams. I am excited to see us progress toward increased access for recreation and relaxation opportunities, which will offer a safe and welcome entrance for pedestrians, cyclists, skaters, and anyone who wants to enjoy the park.”
"Excited to see Prospect Park open its doors wider and create more welcoming spaces. I'm grateful to the Mayor's office for investing in making the park more accessible and glad to contribute to preserving and strengthening the long tradition of horseback riding in the Prospect Park," said Council Member Brad Lander.
“I want to commend the NYC Parks Department, the Prospect Park Alliance, and Mayor Bill de Blasio for their advocacy on behalf of Prospect Park," said Council Member Mathieu Eugene. "We are so privileged to have such a wonderful green space in our borough, and I am delighted that by working together, we are going to make Brooklyn’s Backyard even more vibrant and accessible for the next generation of New Yorkers. I am proud to support the Parks Without Borders initiative because it is an investment in the future of our city. We will be transforming the entrances of Prospect Park along Flatbush Avenue into new public spaces for all New Yorkers to use. It is my hope that through this initiative we will continue to improve Prospect Park for years to come.”
A major entrance will be created in the northeast section of the park near the park's former Rose Garden, the site of future restoration efforts by the Alliance, and a minor secondary entrance will be created just north of the Prospect Park Zoo. The entrances will feature new lighting, seating and trees, as well as new landscaping. The major entrance will align with a future DOT traffic signal and pedestrian crosswalk, intersecting a berm retained by a three-foot-high granite wall. This will open onto a small public plaza with two levels of terraced seating that provides views of the surrounding woodlands. Stepping stones will lead to an informal running trail atop a berm, and the landscape will also feature a rock scramble of boulders sourced from the building site of nearby NewYork-Presbyterian Brooklyn Methodist Hospital. Settees will be installed along the paths and between the boulders.
The creation of these entrances is part of a comprehensive restoration of the Flatbush Avenue perimeter of Prospect Park that is currently underway. A second project -- funded with $2.4 million from Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams and Council Majority Leader Laurie Cumbo and led by the Prospect Park Alliance – will restore the Flatbush Avenue perimeter from Grand Army Plaza to the Prospect Park Zoo to its original grandeur. When complete, the new perimeter will feature landscape improvements and new plantings, an expanded promenade, and new furnishings.
Parks Without Borders was announced in November 2015 with a call for community involvement. NYC Parks asked New Yorkers to nominate the sites that would benefit the most from a PWB improvement project. Utilizing an online survey and 37 conferences with citizens, Parks received more than 6,000 nominations for 691 parks—approximately 30 percent of our parks. The eight selected showcase projects, sharing $40 million in funding from Mayor de Blasio, were revealed in May 2016; and an additional $10 million has been applied to another 40 capital projects in progress.
The other PWB showcase projects are: Fort Greene Park (Brooklyn); Van Cortlandt Park and Hugh Grant Circle / Virginia Park and Playground (Bronx); Jackie Robinson Park and Seward Park (Manhattan); Faber Park (Staten Island) and Flushing Meadows Corona Park (Queens).