At Community Board 3’s parks committee meeting last week, city designers showed off the latest renderings for the renovation of Luther Gulick Park. A community organization, the Friends of Gulick Park, has been advocating and fundraising for the project during the past five years. Originally, it was thought that the job would need to be completed in phases. But now all the money required for the revamp has been allocated, so the Parks Department can do everything at once.
The park, located at Delancey and Willett streets, has suffered from years of neglect. The new renderings presented last week fill out the play area in the southeast corner of the park, near Columbia Street. There are separate sections for children ages 2-5 and 5-12. Dave Bolotsky, founder of the community organization, said members are generally pleased with the design, although they hoped the climbing equipment for older kids would be a bit taller. The bigger issue, he said, is a desire within the group for lighting. Many locals, he indicated, would like the basketball courts to be usable (not to mention safe) in the evening hours. Parks Department officials said they’re skeptical of the idea due to the cost (at least $150,000) but also because city policy requires parks to close at dusk. They promised, however, to take the request back to the agency’s Manhattan Borough Commissioner.
$7 million has been raised for the restoration of the park. Money came from the City Council, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, State Sen. Daniel Squadron, the Manhattan Borough President and the state Department of Transportation. Earlier this month, Mayor de Blasio allocated another $2 million for new bathrooms in the park. That part of the project has not yet been designed.
The plan now goes to the Public Design Commission. Construction is likely to start in the fall or winter of 2016.