This afternoon we’re posting the presentation delivered to Community Board 3 last week for the redesign of Seward Park. The $6.4 million initiative is part of the city’s Parks Without Borders Program, which is meant to better integrate parks within their neighborhoods.
The main focus of this project is a space dubbed, Library Plaza, currently a desolate area in a de-mapped portion of Jefferson Street. Before CB3’s parks committee, designer Chris Crowley said the plaza would become an inviting public space with new pavement, a meadow, a small amphitheater, benches, tables and chairs and game tables.
The Parks Department will also be repairing the pavilion along Essex Street, removing excess fencing and improving accessibility to the park. Overall, the project will eliminate many of Seward Park’s fences and drop the height of the perimeter fence to four feet. An exercise/fitness area will be added next to the basketball courts, which are currently (ever so slowly) being renovated. The crumbling sidewalks around the park will be replaced.
Amy Robinson, head of the Seward Park Conservancy, spoke in favor of the plan. She called the design “gorgeous,” and said it will, “offer this historic park new life.” Robinson noted that the Seward Park Conservancy is ramping up fundraising for the Schiff Fountain on Essex Street (it will be restored in a later phase of construction). Emma Culbert of the SPaCE Block Association raised safety concerns about the lower fences, saying the “neighborhood can get pretty sketchy as soon as it gets dark.” Crowley said he recently met with cops from the 7th Precinct, who stated that fence height would likely not impact crime in the park. Culbert responded, “I respectfully disagree.”
Crowley said the plan will go to the Public Design Commission in June. Construction is expected to begin after Labor day 2018.