New Vision for the Rose Garden
May 23, 2018
Prospect Park Alliance, the non-profit organization that sustains, restores and advances Prospect Park, Brooklyn's Backyard, has announced the results of a year-long effort to develop a community-driven vision for the park's former Rose Garden.
This initiative is part of a larger effort by Prospect Park Alliance to restore the northeast section of the park, which also includes the restoration of the Flatbush Avenue park perimeter, a major restoration of the woodlands, as well as path and lighting improvements to make this area of the park more inviting and accessible to the public.
"Prospect Park is one of the increasingly rare, truly democratic spaces where a wide variety of people of different nationalities, cultures, ethnicities, races and socio-economic backgrounds intermingle," said Sue Donoghue, Prospect Park Alliance President. "To make a more vibrant place for all of Brooklyn, we reached out to the many communities that use and border the park—particularly communities of color, young people, low-income families and new immigrants. Reaching out in multiple languages, in varied formats and at local venues ensured that people whose voices are often missing from local decision-making helped shape the future of this space."
Prospect Park Alliance teamed up with Hester Street, a non-profit organization that works to ensure neighborhoods are shaped by the people who live in them, and Grain Collective, a landscape architecture and urban design practice, to engage local communities in the future vision of this little-known landscape. The Alliance engaged over 2,000 community members and local stakeholders over the course of this outreach effort, and gathered over 3,000 ideas. Ideas for the reimagined Rose Garden were gathered through a series of interviews, focus groups, "pop-up" events, in-person and online surveys, and workshops. This work was made possible through the support of the Altman Foundation.
The resulting, community-driven vision was informed by a set of guiding principles developed by community members and the Alliance to ensure any future improvements are in line with community priorities, as well as site and feasibility factors. Top priorities expressed were preserving the bucolic character of the space, and creating a welcoming environment to a broad array of communities.
“The many people we talked to were clear: the area must be open, accessible and inclusive of the diverse communities that border the Rose Garden and use the space,” reported Betsy MacLean, Executive Director of Hester Street, “and that community engagement and participation in the future design and programming of the park must be ongoing.”
In the coming years, the Alliance will oversee related improvements to park's northeast corner, including: the Flatbush Avenue perimeter restoration; path and lighting improvements; and the creation of two new entrances to the park. In the meantime, Prospect Park Alliance will further develop and refine design concepts for the former Rose Garden; determine the scope and budget for the project; and develop a broader fundraising campaign for the park to make this project a reality.