An announcement was made earlier this month to celebrate the partial reopening of a public space.
On Monday, February 10, Councilwoman Vanessa Gibson, along with the NYC Department of Design and Construction deputy commissioner Tom Foley announced the partial reopening of the Bronx Hall of Justice’s public plaza to the community.
Located at 265 East 161st Street, the Bronx Hall of Justice is nearing completion of a $40 million renovation in two capital projects, which are being managed by the DDC and the NYC Department of Citywide Administrative Services.
Improvements for phase one of the plaza’s renovations include new waterproofing to prevent leaks into a parking garage under the plaza, as well as new concrete pavers, stairs, ramps, railing, lighting and tree planters at the site.
The reopening of the plaza will provide additional, much-needed pedestrian space in the neighborhood, as well as a new mid-block path for people to travel between East 161st and East 162nd streets.
“I am proud to see DDC taking action to bring this public space back to the residents of the Bronx,” said Councilwoman Vanessa Gibson. “Although more work needs to be done, this is the first step in restoring much-needed open space to the neighborhood.”
“In a city as dense and as busy as ours, public spaces provide a lifeline for openness, relief and community,” said Senator Luis Sepulveda. “We look forward to the continued repairs to make this space fully functional again, as well as to continue the momentum for many other public spaces in the Bronx that are full of potential for our communities.”
“This renovation exemplifies the continuous efforts of our city officials and agencies to increase accessibility and cohesion in our community,” said Assemblyman Michael Blake. “I’m excited to see the remainder of the upgrades so that our fellow Bronxites can take full advantage of the improved and beautified features.”
“The reopening of the plaza will make a unique open space available in our community,” said Assemblywoman Latoya Joyner. “With the official start of spring less than two months away, having this open space available will be particularly important and benefit the community in many ways.”
The Bronx Hall of Justice courthouse opened in 2007 but was closed to the public in 2016, after it was discovered that there was water leaking into the lower areas of the building, as a result of faulty construction when the courthouse was originally built.
Approximately 28,335 square feet, which makes up about 58 percent of the plaza, has now been reopened. The remaining 20,005 square feet of the plaza is anticipated to open after 16 new trees are planted in the spring.
The building is also expected undergo repairs to its HVAC and climate control systems, as well as waterproofing, plumbing, sewer lines, fire dampers, ductwork and interior glass and paint work.
“We are very pleaded to be able to repair this public space and once again make it available to the people of the Bronx,” said Lorraine Grillo, commissioner of the DDC, which is NYC’s primary capital construction project manager and provides communities with new or renovated public buildings.
“In a few months, after the remaining trees are planted and the work in the plaza is complete, more than one full acre of public space will have been restored for this community,” Grillo added.