Improvements to Crotona Lake unveiled by Parks

NYC Department of Parks and Recreation Commissioner Adrian Benepe, joined by Bronx Parks Commissioner Hector Aponte, Deputy Bronx Borough president Aurelia Green, Assemblyman Michael Benjamin, local leaders and parks representatives, to cut the ribbon for the new Indian Lake and amphitheater in Crotona Park on Friday, July 24. Photo by Victor Chu

Bronxites can be proud as the NYC Department of Parks and Recreation unveiled the new Crotona Park, a vital nature escape and community safe haven that all can enjoy.

A part of the Croton Mitigation funds from the Croton Water Filtration Plant, the $ 6.7 million project made significant improvements for the restoration of Indian Lake and created a brand new Amphitheater.

“For more than 100 years Crotona Park has been a flagship in the Bronx, a 100-acre sanctuary of rolling hills and dramatic rock outcropings, lofty trees, baseball diamonds, tennis courts, a pool and a lake,” said Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe.

Preceding the official ribbon cutting ceremony was the inaugural performance at the amphitheater, with ‘World Rhythms’ drumming by Tony Vacca and dance performances organized by City Parks Foundation.

Benepe was joined by Bronx Park Commissioner Hector Aponte, Deputy Bronx Borough President Aurelia Green, Assemblyman Michael Benjamin, John Dudley, district manager of Community Board 3, and a representative of Councilman Joel Rivera to celebrate the ribbon cutting on Friday, July 24.

“This is wonderful. This park has an important meaning for me because I grew up on 3rd Avenue and 171st Street and this is the park I played in,” said Green. “It’s so good to see something like this come into creation.”

Following the event, children were able to receive lessons on canoeing and catch-and-release fishing by the Urban Park Rangers.

The 3.3 acre natural spring-fed lake underwent an ecological restoration to improve the lake’s quality. A natural shoreline was added to replace the former perimeter, along with new landscaping and plants that would improve the appearance and provide a natural filter for water draining into the lake, and a bolder beach for easier access to the water.

A new streambed was added to enlarge the lake, as well as a stone footbridge to direct visitors over the lake towards the new amphitheater.

The amphitheater seats up to 700 and was constructed with stone from the Champlain Quarry in Clemens, New York, designed to be both ascetically pleasing and blend with the natural hillside.

“The Mayor said that the best days are ahead of us,” said Benepe. “If we keep building great parks like this, I am sure the best days really are ahead of us.”

To date Parks has completed 31 Croton-funded projects, with 21 currently in construction, and an addition 23 in the design phase.

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