Improvements to a monument area in a park dedicated to veterans should make the picturesque site even more so.
NYC Parks Department confirmed that it is beginning work on a $200,000 project to enhance the plaza area around a monument and ceremonial ramparts dedicated to veterans at Bicentennial Veterans Memorial Park at Weir Creek.
The plaza near the ramparts, monument and flagpole overlooking the creek will be outfitted with interlocking stones to replace granite-like pavement that is chipping and cracking, said Pat Devine of the Theodore Korony American Legion Post #253.
Parks has consulted with local veterans, including Devine and Tom Hansen of the Korony Post, on the design.
Both men were some of the original veterans that helped advocate 30 to 40 years ago for the creation of the passive park dedicated to the sacrifices of brave men and women of the U.S. Armed Forces.
“We have worked closely with the community board and (a) local veterans group to create a design that meets the needs of everyone who uses this park, as the community relies on this space for gatherings and events,” said Iris Rodriguez-Rosa, Bronx Parks commissioner.
Rodriguez-Rosa said that parks would move forward to replace the old, fractured granite pavement with pavers and colored concrete.
Hansen said that based on their meetings with the Parks Department, the paths surrounding the ramparts, monument and flag will also be widened, allowing for more people to gather during the ceremonies celebrating veterans.
The increase in concrete surfacing will allow the veterans to accommodate larger crowds, said Devine, citing ceremonies that include Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day, Memorial Day, and those at the conclusion of the Throggs Neck Veterans Day Parade.
Funding for the project was allocated by Councilman James Vacca.
In addition to this latest upgrade, there have been improvements including repair of walkways and drainage, replacement of stones, tree plantings, new benches in a grove area, reseeding the memorial and plaza lawns, repair of railings, as well as irrigation and fencing for a softball field.
“(This work) is just to modernize, upkeep, restore and maintain,” the councilman said.
Vacca said that most of the suggestions for improvements came from Devine, who he said was instrumental in transforming land that had once was overgrown with phragmite-like reeds and an illegal dumping site into a park.
He recalls working with Devine when he was Community Board 10 district manager and Devine was chairman of its Parks Committee. Vacca said Devine brought the park into existence.
Parks first made a presentation entitled ‘Bicentennial Veterans Park Plaza Reconstruction’ to Community Board 10’s Parks Committee in June 2016.
Devine said he is glad the work is happening, called it progress, and thanked Vacca for all of his efforts on behalf of the park.
Not all of Vacca’s plans for the park have been welcomed by the veteran community.
He recently targeted the park for an elaborate fitness equipment installation, only feet away from the memorial, that the veteran groups immediately rejected.