A Parks Without Borders project in the borough held a groundbreaking inside of the city’s third largest park.
Van Cortlandt Park held its Parks Without Borders groundbreaking on several projects geared towards improving locations where the community blends into a park, along with sites on the edges of the park, including near Broadway. This is the goal of the overall PWB initiative in and around the edges of parks.
The park, along with Virginia Park and Hugh Grant Circle in Parkchester, were nominated to be part of eight citywide PWB showcase project sites in public online voting for proposed projects and citizen conferences.
“It was really a community-wide effort” to get out the vote for the projects, and it showed that people cared about the park, said Christina Taylor, Van Cortlandt Park Alliance director of programs and operations.
She said she helped organize a successful effort to gain public support for the PWB construction, adding it included help from the Manhattan College’s leadership, who had spread the message about the voting on the college’s social media.
The groundbreaking took place on Tuesday, June 18 on $5.9 million in improvements to Van Cortlandt Park.
They include the transformation of a now un-utilized skating rink into a seating area with a spray shower feature, new entrances to the park and the removal of fences near the terminus of the IRT #1 line at Broadway and West 242nd Street to make the park more welcoming, and the reconstruction of a barbecuing area and restoration of wetlands near Broadway and West 242nd Street, said Taylor. The amount of fencing near the last stop of the train would be reduced and made uninform in appearance, she said.
The project is slated for being completed in the summer of 2020.
Additionally, another groundbreaking is expected soon on work to enhance Virginia Park and Playground and on opening up now fenced-off greenspace at Hugh Grant Circle to pedestrians and commuters leaving the IRT #6 train, said Nilka Martell, a parks advocate from the area.
Attending the Van Cortlandt Park groundbreaking were Mitchell Silver, NYC Parks Department commissioner and Iris Rosa-Rodriguez, NYC Parks Bronx commissioner.