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There’s Still Time to Vote For Seward Park in “Parks Without Borders” Competition

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seward park fountain
Seward Park border along Essex Street. File photo.

As the temperature dips below freezing this week, recreating in Seward Park might not be the first thing on your mind. But it is, in fact, a very  good time to stay focused on improvements in the historic community space. This is because the city will be making some important funding decisions in the weeks ahead that could transform Seward Park.

As we reported last month, the Parks Department has launched “Parks Without Borders,” a $50 million initiative aimed at improving “entrances, edges, and park-adjacent spaces” in eight public green spaces throughout the five boroughs. The funding decisions will be made. in part, based on feedback received from the public. You can weigh in until Feb. 28 via this link.

Last month, Community Board 3 approved a resolution in support of Seward Park. It noted that the park is the only one in Community District 3 eligible based on very specific criteria. The resolution also pointed out that NYC Parks Department officials have already “indicated (that) Seward Park would be an extremely viable candidate for the program.” There will be a presentation on the initiative and a chance for community feedback at CB3’s January Parks Committee meeting. It will be held next week, Thursday the 14th, at the BRC Senior Center, 30 Delancey St., at 6:30 p.m. The Seward Park Conservancy is urging local residents to attend as a show of support for funding on the Lower East Side.

Parks Department officials have said at least one park in each borough would receive funding. The winning locations will be announced in the spring.

For many years, people have criticized the high fencing around Seward Park, which makes access difficult from Essex Street. Park advocates have talked about new landscaping and seating in front of the Seward Park Library, located just to the east of the park. There’s also been talk about improvements at nearby Straus Square on East Broadway and reactivating a building within the park now used to store maintenance equipment.

The Parks Without Borders website is a bit cumbersome. If you would like to nominate Seward Park, check out this “how-to” guide from the Seward Park Conservancy.


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  1. Just curious why Seward park is the only park qualifying for funding rather than say ER Park or Corlears Hook? Certainly it could use the improvements.

  2. It’s our area’s best chance of getting the funding for any of our parks given the requirements of this particular grant from Parks Department. Though it’s not a great way to decide park funding because it relies so heavily on computer access, computer skills, feelings of entitlement or not, etc..that excludes swaths of the community, that said, it’s a well-used, important Park for all of us.

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