New York City Department of Parks officials presented their overall conceptual design for the park, as well as the funded phase 1 portion, at CB1’s monthly meeting last Wednesday.
Phase 1 of the Cooper Park renovation received an allocation of $2.5 million from Councilwoman Diana Reyna's office. And although Parks Department Senior Landscape Architect Emmanuel Thingue and Director of Brooklyn Capital Projects Portia Dyrenforth presented attendees with an overall conceptual look, for now, the funds only allow for the completion of phase 1.
Many of the features laid out in the presentation came from previous listening sessions with residents who live near to the park, particularly those in the Cooper Park Houses.
A picnic and barbeque area is planned, as well as a quarter-mile jogging path/nature trail around the park, new tennis courts, two basketball courts with lights and bleachers and a sand volleyball court.
A fenced-in playground with separate entrances for 2-5 year olds and 6-12 year olds, as well as a dog run and a skate park, are also part of the conceptual plan, which residents voted for at a listening session back in January.
Synthetic turf is also planned for one part of the park, but the community board’s Parks Committee voted against it recently.
“The basic layout of the current design is somewhat static and what we're providing is more dynamic,” Thingue said, referring to the current oval shape of the park, which he plans to make asymmetrical.
All of the entrances will be transformed. A lush landscape around each entrance will be implemented to make it more inviting.
While some board members weighed in, giving their suggestions on what could be changed and what would work, the overall response to the design was welcoming.
The playground and lawn, as well as many of the features will unfortunately have to wait until further funding is provided, if at all. But for phase 1, the barbeque and picnic areas and the sand volleyball court will be built.
However, the department is still going through the process of approval to begin construction on phase 1. Work on the renovation is not expected to start until Winter 2012 or Spring 2013. The department representatives told the board to expect a year of construction. During that time, the remainder of the park will be open.
With every new phase, the department needs to get community board approval. At a September meeting, which showcased the features to Cooper Park Houses residents, Reyna noted that it will take three different monetary amounts for each phase. The Cooper Park renovation is part of Reyna's overall allocation of $15 million for parks in the Bushwick and Greenpoint neighborhoods.