Governor George E. Pataki and Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg announced that the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation’s Board of Directors authorized an additional $19.5 million at today’s board meeting ($500,000 was approved in August) to renovate, improve or create six Lower Manhattan parks and open spaces. This is in addition to more than $100 million that the joint State/City agency has previously approved, including $70 million in funding for the expansion of Hudson River Park. Additionally, the LMDC has previously authorized $150 million for the redevelopment of the East River Waterfront, which will include additional open spaces.
“The announcement of these six new projects is just the latest example of our unprecedented $120 million commitment to create and revitalize parks, playgrounds and green spaces, and will go a long-way towards the continued transformation of Lower Manhattan into a true mixed-use community,” Governor George E. Pataki said. “Our overall investment will result in more than 135 acres of open spaces being preserved, enhanced and created for Lower Manhattan’s residents, families, employees and visitors. I want to thank the Mayor and the LMDC for aggressively pursuing these parks initiatives that will offer tangible benefits for all of downtown.”
“The renewal and development of park space is a vital part of the revitalization of Lower Manhattan,” said Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg. “New York City Parks have never been healthier or more robust, and this infusion of funding will make sure that we continue to improve open spaces across Lower Manhattan.”
Working with the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation and local community boards, the LMDC provided $30 million in funding for improvements at 14 parks. Included were plans to revitalize playgrounds, plazas, streets and other open spaces across Lower Manhattan, including the neighborhoods of Chinatown, the Lower East Side, the Financial District, Tribeca and the East River Waterfront. This next round of $20 million in funding will be targeted to six additional projects identified in conjunction with the Parks Department and local community boards who along with the Arts Commission will have design input.
“Through the LMDC, Governor Pataki and Mayor Bloomberg are once again demonstrating a commitment that they share for increasing the quality of life for the people who live and work in Lower Manhattan,” said Stefan Pryor, President of the LMDC. “The quality of the improvements we are helping to provide will contribute to the continued renewal of our great neighborhoods and our City.”
“Since releasing the Lower Manhattan Visions Open Space Report three years ago, we have seen nearly every park south of Canal Street completely renovated, and several new parks built from scratch,” said Parks & Recreation Commissioner Adrian Benepe. “Thanks to the generous, continued support of LMDC, we are able to move onwards up Lower Manhattan, revitalizing another six public spaces by 2009.”
Parks targeted for improvement under this round of LMDC funding include: James Madison, Canal Varick Laight, Sara D. Roosevelt, Pike/Allen St. Malls, Collect Pond Park and Washington Market. Improvements include new fencing, plantings, water features, play equipment, benches and sitting areas, lighting, pavement and curbing, drainage and infrastructure.
Previous LMDC funding for improving parks and open spaces included projects at: Bowling Green, Brooklyn Bridge, Tribeca Park, Washington Market, Al Smith Playground, Sara D. Roosevelt, Old Slip, Coenties Slip, East River Ballfields, Drumgoogle, Columbus Park and Manhatta Park.
“We are delighted that the LMDC is allocating additional funds to create new parks and upgrade existing open spaces in Lower Manhattan,” said Julie Menin, Chairwoman of Community Board 1. “As our residential population continues its remarkable growth, these new parks will serve as an incentive for people to make long term commitments to raise their families here in Lower Manhattan.”
Also on Thursday, the LMDC Board authorized $38 million in funding for the City to revitalize the Fulton Street corridor, which also includes plans for renovating and enhancing existing open spaces. The project proposes to redevelop the area into a mixed-use retail corridor serving the surrounding commercial and residential sectors as well as the growing visitor market. This will be completed through public investments in five targeted areas including: enhancement of existing open spaces, creation of new open spaces, establishment of retail and façade improvement programs, and streetscape and sidewalk improvements.
The following is the scope of work at each of the six park sites that will be renovated or created with LMDC funding:
LMDC Funds will transform this triangular parking lot into a passive garden-like sitting area for use by office workers and local residents. New plantings and fencing will protect the sitting area from nearby traffic. Flowering trees, perennials, decorative grasses, and groundcovers will supplement the existing perimeter Elm trees and transform this space. The project will include new drainage and water supply, a spray fountain, new benches, trash receptacles, and lighting.
Canal Varick Laight
With LMDC funding, this project will create a new park as a gateway to New York City and Lower Manhattan. Just under one-half acre the interior of the site, now surrounded by a new concrete sidewalk built by NYCDOT, will be paved with hex block, bluestone and granite cobbles. The triangle will be lined on all sides with new street trees and canopy trees that will be contained in three large ornamental planting beds. The planting beds will be fenced with steel picket fencing and lined with contemporary benches. Water service will be provided for the upkeep of the new plantings. A new sculpture and fountain will be placed within the central seating area, with new fencing, fountain, plantings, benches, and respite from this busy and congested area of the west side of Manhattan.
Sara D Roosevelt, Phase II
After LMDC funds allowed for the renovation of the athletic fields at the park (completed and opened in Fall 2005), this next phase will include the reconstruction of the playground, including new play equipment, a spray shower, benches, drinking fountain and lighting. Trees on the perimeter will be supplemented with new trees, shrubs and perennials.
Pike/Allen St. Malls
LMDC funding will be used to reconstruct the center plots along Allen Street and Pike Street, which are in poor condition in a neighborhood where public spaces are lacking. This project will reconstruct eight center plots along Allen Street and seven center plots along Pike Street as areas with plantings and paths, including new pavements and curbs, fencing and gates, bollards, benches, lighting, trees, and ground cover, and water supply.
Collect Pond Park
LMDC funding will reconstruct this site, which is in poor condition in a neighborhood where public spaces are lacking. This project will reconstruct the existing site and expand the park to its proper property line along the southern portion as a passive park with planting and paths. The reconstruction will include new pavements and curbs, fencing and gates, bollards, benches, drinking fountains, water feature, park lighting, plant material, and water supply and drainage.
Washington Market, Phase II
LMDC funded landscape renovations at Washington Market Park during the first round of parks funding. The purpose of “Phase 2” at this park is to provide a new building of approximately 900 square feet to house a comfort station. The park is the only playground within a several block area and is heavily used by families. The park currently does not offer public bathrooms for caregivers and/or children.