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City Funding Sought for McCarren Park's Extension into Union Avenue

By Meredith Hoffman | October 16, 2012 3:52pm | Updated on October 17, 2012 8:28am

WILLIAMSBURG — A road that cuts through McCarren Park is one step closer to becoming part of the green space, local park advocates said.

The non-profit Open Space Alliance for North Brooklyn has applied for city funding to make Union Avenue a pedestrian plaza, which would provide an additional 34,000 square feet of space in McCarren Park, OSA's assistant executive director Kurt Cavanaugh said.

"We submitted a grant application for capital improvements...and if we're awarded that it would be guaranteed to ensure adequate funding," he said of the pedestrian plaza grant from the city's Department of Transportation. "The goal all along has been to get more park space for McCarren."

Cavanaugh noted that OSA has been pushing for the change for a few years, and that if it succeeds there will be community forums to discuss exactly what the pedestrian space would include.

And Joe Vance, a board member of OSA who has campaigned for the project the past several years, said the street's conversion would create a sense of unity in the park to open up possibilities for further improvements.

"When you put all those spaces together it’s 2.7 acres," he said of the pieces of the park dividied by Union Avenue, "that the community can then stand back and imagine what you can do...It's more than black top shrinking into grass."

Vance noted that the city agreed to study the needs of McCarren Park as part of the neighborhood's 2005 rezoning from industrial to residential, and that the city had deemed Union Avenue worthy of becoming park space.

"McCarren is pretty overused so adding anything is important," he said.

Cavanaugh said he did not know when the DOT would respond to the grant application, which was submitted in July.

A spokesman for the Department of Transportation said that grant applications were still under review, and he did not give a timeline for decisions.