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Essex Crossing Park to Have Play Area, Native Plantings, Abundant Seating

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A site plan for the Essex Crossing park along Broome Street between Suffolk and Clinton streets. Rendering by 8 West.
A site plan for the Essex Crossing park along Broome Street between Suffolk and Clinton streets. Rendering by West 8.

A 15,000-square-foot park stretching along Broome Street between Suffolk and Clinton streets will be one of the first projects to break ground in the giant Essex Crossing development, and details of its design were unveiled last night.

After gathering community feedback on initial designs earlier this year, landscape architects West 8 appeared before a Community Board 3 subcommittee to present their latest drawings. The park is expected to begin construction in March 2015 and be completed in two years.

The plan calls for a “relaxing neighborhood amenity with passive uses” that offers a “green oasis in the city,” representatives from the firm told committee members and an audience of citizens gathered in a meeting room at Sara D. Roosevelt Park.

Designers have incorporated comments and concerns they heard at a previous committee meeting in March, as well as a public visioning session held in May after committee members urged the Essex Crossing developers, Delancey Street Associates, to solicit more input from the future park’s neighbors.

The new designs depict a linear park that is 35 percent planted with native species of trees, shrubs and bedding plants, arranged in a way to create individual “coves” that can be used for multiple purposes, said Claire Agre, who gave West 8’s presentation. One of the areas will offer a play space designed especially for children 2 to 5 years old, while another will be anchored by a large, fixed communal table that seats about 10 people.

There is plenty of seating built into the plan: in addition to the large table, there will be smaller, portable tables and chairs, as well as bench seating along the perimeter, both with and without backs.

“One of the most important reasons people come to parks is to sit and look at other people, and to be with other people,” Agre said.

Another fixed component of the park will be a kiosk with rotating exhibits and information about the neighborhood. (An original proposal to have a kiosk serving food and drink has been dropped.)

A rendering of the information and art kiosk in one section of the park. Illustration by West 8.
A rendering of the information and art kiosk in one section of the park. Illustration by West 8.

Members of the community board’s parks subcommittee and several members of the audience asked questions about maintenance and upkeep of the park, including rat deterrence and plant care. Isaac Henderson, representing L + M, one of the development partners that makes up Delancey Street Associates, assured the crowd that there will be plenty of funding allocated for on-site maintenance staff and upkeep. Because the park will actually be private property as part of Essex Crossing, the terms of its ongoing maintenance are clearly spelled out in the development agreement, Henderson said.

Another issue that arose was whether there would be a group of community members involved in overseeing the park after its completion; Henderson said yes.

The park will occupy the northern end of the block bounded by Grand, Suffolk, Broome and Clinton streets, known as Site # 5 in the Essex Crossing development. It is 200 feet wide along Broome Street and 77 feet deep along Suffolk and Clinton. The rest of that block will hold a new residential and commercial building in the southeastern corner, while the southwestern corner has been reserved by the city as a potential future school site.

For more drawings and details, see the entire slideshow presented last night in PDF form.

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