Korean War Veterans Plaza

Parks & Recreation Cuts The Ribbon On The Columbus Park Pavilion

Thursday, October 25, 2007
No. 141

Commissioner Adrian Benepe yesterday joined City Council Member Alan Gerson, Executive Director of the Chinatown Partnership Wellington Chen, children from the Church of Transfiguration School and members of the LaGuardia Senior Center, Chinatown Senior Center, Project Open Door, and Master Yip’s Martial Arts School to cut the ribbon on the $4.14 million restoration of the Columbus Park Pavilion. The project was made possible thanks to a $1.5 million grant from the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation (LMDC), a $1 million grant from the National Park Service’s Urban Park and Recreation Recovery Program (UPARR), $720,000 from Council Member Gerson, $640,000 from the Office of the Mayor and $250,000 from the Borough President.

“For over a hundred years, Columbus Park has served as a crossroads for people of different cultures and generations in the heart of one of the oldest residential areas of Manhattan,” said Commissioner Benepe. “Reconstruction of the Pavilion is another part of a multi-phase renovation of this popular neighborhood park. Thanks to federal grants from the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation and Urban Park and Recreation Recovery, Council Member Gerson, and the offices of the Borough President and the Mayor, the Pavilion will once again serve as a proud anchor of a historic gathering place.”

“Columbus Park is a recreational treasure for many of Chinatown’s residents who find refuge there from the bustle of city life,” said Lower Manhattan Development Corporation President David Emil. “We are pleased to help expand the park’s use by supporting this important pavilion restoration. This section of Columbus Park sat unused for years, but now it becomes part of a wider plan to create more open space throughout Lower Manhattan.”

The restoration of the Pavilion includes increased accessibility to the building with new access ramps, stairs and mechanical lifts. The interior of the Pavilion has been redesigned to promote space for multi-use activity, along with public toilets, new flooring and storage space. The exterior of the structure has been enhanced with stone work and new paint, along with windows and doors. The area surrounding the Pavilion has been newly landscaped with plants, trees, lighting and fencing.

In 2003, Parks & Recreation and the LMDC began a comprehensive restoration of Columbus Park. The renovation included a new sports field, play equipment, basketball courts, and picnic tables. In addition to Columbus Park, the LMDC has funded the creation or improvements to 20 parks in Lower Manhattan.

Columbus Park stands at the crossroads of residential, cultural, and industrial history of New York City. Adjacent to the infamous “five points” district of the 19th century, it is also one of the City’s first major urban parks. Originally names Mulberry Bend Park, it was designed by Calvert Vaux in the 1880s. The purpose of the park was to provide much-needed green space to an over-crowded section of the city.

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