Owen-Dolen makeover

The Department of Parks and Recreation Bronx Commissioner Hector Aponte, Councilman Jimmy Vacca and the Association of Merchants and Professionals of Westchester Square met to discuss plans for the renovation of Owen-Dolen Park and Recreation Center, set to begin in April.

At the meeting on Friday, February 27, it was explained that the project would be performed in two phases.

Phase One will encompass all necessary repairs to the recreation center using the $ 904,000 of Croton Mitigation Funds.

“Site work will include renovation of the exterior roof plaza, windows, and ADA entrance and is expected to be complete in Spring 2010,” said a spokesperson for Parks.

Parks is currently putting together a design plan for Phase Two, which will completely redesign and reconstruct the surrounding area, using money allocated from Vacca over the course of two years, totaling $ 5 million.

“Right now it’s more of a tree museum. People use it’s pathways to get to the bus or train, it’s not someplace they can go and enjoy,” said John Bonizio, president of the Association of Merchants and Professionals of Westchester Square.

“We want to turn it into a plaza, where we can have events and activities. To make Owen-Dolen a destination point.”

The second phase is estimated to begin in 2010, as the first repairs reach completion, with all reconstruction hoped to be finished by 2011.

Slight discrepancies arose over the removal of some trees, but Parks plans to come up with a design that will keep the current trees in place while incorporating the community’s requests.

“Commissioner Aponte is going to come back to us with more specifics but we expect work to start pretty soon,” said Vacca.

“I think we are doing well and that the City is on track now.”


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