The $6 million renovation of Seward Park was completed several weeks ago, and people in the neighborhood have been enjoying the much-improved plaza linking the park and the Seward Park Library. But yesterday the city finally made it official with a ribbon cutting ceremony.
Parks Commissioner Mitchell Silver was there, along with Vicki Been, deputy mayor for housing and economic development. So were City Council Member Margaret Chin, State Sen. Brian Kavanagh and Trever Holland, chair of Community Board 3’s parks committee.
The project was completed through the city’s Parks Without Borders program, which is intended to improve connections between parks and local communities. The height of Seward Park’s formerly imposing fences was lowered and the library plaza was completely redesigned with new seating and a small amphitheater. The garden was also expanded and more fully integrated into the park. Next up, Disney+ and the Seward Park Conservancy will be teaming up to add a permanent plaque for the statue of Togo the sled dog.
Silver praised the Seward Park Conservancy for its advocacy over the years. The initial sites for Parks Without Borders were chosen, in part, through a public popularity contest. The conservancy led a local campaign to help persuade the city to designate the historic Lower East Side park for renovations. When he was appointed commissioner in 2014, Silver and the mayor came to Seward Park for the announcement. At the time, members of the conservancy handed out flyers detailing some of the park’s needs, and lobbied the new commissioner directly. Yesterday, Silver said he’d never forgotten this.
The conservancy has now turned its attention to raising funds to restore the dilapidated Schiff Fountain, on the park’s western side.