Standing in front of the imposing Cadman Plaza Park World War II Memorial, Borough President Eric Adams announced the details of an $11.9 million allocation of funds to city parks for fiscal year 2016.
“From Greenpoint to Gowanus, from Cypress Hills to Canarsie, I am investing in open space that benefits Brooklynites of all backgrounds,” said Adams. “Parks are our great equalizer, the backyard for all New Yorkers who don’t have one, turning people from someone living next door to you into your neighbor.”
The announcement took place in front of the Brooklyn War Memorial, with a large contingent of Brooklyn veterans there in support of the announcement. In total, $1 million will be used to help overhaul the handicap accessibility at the memorial, which has been closed for the last 25 years due to a lack of funding.
The massive granite and limestone memorial is dedicated to the over 300,000 men and women who served in World War II. Inside, the names of the approximately 11,500 Brooklyn service members who died during the war are on display.
“This is a giant step in the right direction for the Brooklyn War Memorial,” said Raymond Aalbue, executive director of United Military Veterans of Kings County. “Borough President Adams was true to his word to start the renovation process. It's now up to all of our elected officials to get the rest of the money to restore the memorial so the voices of all of our casualties of war will be heard, lest we forget.”
In addition to the $1 million going toward the memorial restoration, various parks and open space projects throughout the borough are getting a boon in capital improvement money. Ceremonial checks were presented to various elected officials and community representatives at the announcement.
“This year’s capital budget enforces that investment in Brooklyn’s parks is not just good for our environment, but for the health of our children, our families, and our neighborhoods,” said Adams.
Brooklyn Strand, a project to connect open space in Brooklyn Heights, Downtown Brooklyn, Dumbo and Fort Greene, is receiving $500,000 to convert a parking lot into an open shared space.
The borough's larger parks are also getting capital improvements. Fort Greene Park is getting $1 million for improvements to paths, entrances and drainage, while Prospect Park is on the receiving end of $500,000 for the Prospect Park Alliance's project to restore the fence and sidewalks along Flatbush Avenue.
There will be $500,000 for new benches and repaved pathways inside Sunset Park, as well as $450,000 to improve paving and add seating areas in the Butterfly Garden.
“In communities across Brooklyn, our parks are cherished by area residents of all ages who frequent these beautiful open spaces to engage in recreational and educational activities,” said Councilwoman Laurie Cumbo. “Through the continued investment of city dollars, we can preserve and sustain our neighborhoods parks for future generations.”
Part of the nearly $12 million investment is also going to playgrounds and athletic fields, including $350,000 for St. Mary’s Playground; $650,000 for Ennis Playground; $1 million for Bildersee Playground in Canarsie; $500,000 to convert a field destroyed by overuse at Cypress Hills Playground in East New York; and $1.25 million to renovate the field and upgrade the track at Fort Hamilton High School in Bay Ridge, among other projects.
Approximately $335,000 has also been set aside for street tree guards across Brooklyn.
Adams also mentioned that the city needs to find the funding to make sure Bushwick Inlet Park is funded in it's entirety, and the full scope of the open space project on the Williamsburg waterfront is realized.
“We have to make sure Bushwick Inlet Park is carried through,” Adams said. “It has to happen.”