October 22, 2014
The Prospect Park Alliance has recently received more than $1.6 million in funding from government agencies on the federal, state and city levels to improve the northeast corner of the Park, including repairing storm damage in the Vale of Cashmere, and also reconstruction of the fencing and sidewalk along Flatbush Avenue.
The Alliance received nearly $730,000 from the National Park Service and the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation to repair storm damage in the Vale, a once lush garden oasis located along a dramatic 60-foot slope, which was originally a children’s play area. The Vale eventually surrendered its sweeping views of the surrounding landscape to maturing trees. Last year, the Alliance created the Donald and Barbara Zucker Natural Exploration Area, which used trees damaged by Hurricane Sandy to create a new play area for children, which this year was named Best of New York by New York magazine.
Hurricane Sandy destroyed 50 trees in the Vale, causing damage to adjacent structures and destabilization of the sloping landscape. This project will restore the woodlands, clean up storm damage, reset damaged boulders, and replant native trees and shrubs in order to stabilize the slope. In addition, Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams and New York City Council Member Laurie Cumbo recently awarded grants totaling $900,000 for the first phase of repairing the sidewalk and fencing along Flatbush Avenue. Together with the future opening of the Flatbush entrance to the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, this project will go far in improving accessibility to this side of the Park.
Park improvements aren’t restricted to the northeast corner. A significant project is currently underway to restore the Long Meadow Ballfields, and to improve pedestrian pathways and drainage issues around the Park. This includes the reconstruction of the transverse path at the north end of the Long Meadow, which was made possible through funds from New York City Council Member Brad Lander through the Participatory Budget process.
In addition, to improve drainage issues at the Park Circle entrance to the Park, the Alliance has installed rain gardens that help to absorbe stormwater runoff. Like the rain gardens at the LeFrak Center, the new installations will recycle the water to feed surrounding plants and trees. Other projects currently underway are the creation of the first compostable restrooms in a city park at the historic Wellhouse, and the City Council has recently awarded funding toward the renovation of the Prospect Park Bandshell. Stay tuned for further news on these Park improvements.
c. Paul Martinka