Big plans set for Pelham Parkway mall spruce-up

By Ben Kochman

The city plans to pump around $8 million over the next five years into sprucing up Pelham Parkway between Boston Road and Stillwell Avenue.

New biking and walking paths, massive lawn restoration, swanky circular hang out spots dotted with plant beds, and rebuilt Bx12 bus stops are all on the agenda, according to plans released to Community Board 11 by the city’s Department of Parks and Recreation.

“I was blown away, said Joanne Rubino, chair of CB 11’s parks committee. “It was like a dream come true.”

The project’s first phase – a $1.36 million renovation between Boston Road and Holland Avenue – is already funded and expected to break ground by summer 2015, said Parks spokesman Nathan Arnosti.

Funding for the other three phases of work along the green mall has yet to be allotted.

Netting Croton $$

The $8 million project is a small slice of the over $200 million the city Department of Environmental Protection earmarked for rehabbing Bronx parks when it gained approval in 2004 to build the Croton Water Filtration Plant underneath Van Cortland Park.

Getting up to speed

Part of that lofty price is meant to go towards fixing up Bronx parks. And Pelham Parkway is one of the borough’s oldest, having been built in the early 20th century, back when the area was still rural.

Since then, the population around the parkway has skyrocketed, with elevated train lines and bus lines replacing sleepy horse-drawn carriages.

New bus stops

Parks’ current design has a little bit for everyone. Tree lovers will see a series of American Linden trees replanted along the roads; bikers will have new paved paths, and park visitors will have new benches.

The city also plans to rebuild the bus stops with a futuristic flair.

“It looks so impressive, really beautiful, especially the benches next to all of the bus stops,” said Edith Blitzer, president of the Pelham Parkway Neighborhood Association, as the plan was approved at Board 11’s April meeting.

“What they are going to do here is just beautiful,” added Joe Bombace. “How could we say no to something like this?”

The planned mall renovation is separate from the $36 million reconstruction of Pelham Parkway South, which was completed this year, and the forthcoming $30 million reconstruction of the north side of the street, for which the city has yet to reveal its plans or timetable.

Reach Reporter Ben Kochman at (718) 742–3394. E-mail him at Follow him on Twitter @benkochman.

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