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Newtown Barge Park Plan Offers Little League Field and City Views

By Serena Dai | January 9, 2015 2:10pm | Updated on January 12, 2015 8:47am
 Plans for an expanded Newtown Barge Park include a walkway by the water and a Little League field.
Newtown Barge Park
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GREENPOINT — A waterfront walk featuring "dramatic views of the city," an artificial turf for play and a Little League field are all part of new plans revealed Thursday for an expanded Newtown Barge Park.

The current handball and basketball courts would be demolished when the more than two-acre park is built, Parks Department officials said.

The expansion, part of a long-promised added green space to the waterfront, would be finished in the next two years after community approval, officials said.

"The million dollar element is the view out into the city and the water," said Gary Sorge of Stantec, a firm that designed the park, at Thursday's Community Board 1 parks committee meeting.

Plans for the park near Commercial Street and Dupont Street include about half natural grass, with trees and flowers to combat an "overabundance and excess of pavement," Sorge said.

A walkway will be built along the waterfront for access to "nice, dramatic views of the city," while a Little League ball field would be on the other end of the park, closer to the street, Sorge said.

Between the field and the grass, the park will have artificial turf that could be used for a variety of games, including soccer.

"If there’s a chance of it being multiple sports, the synthetic turf is a way to go," said Martin Maher of the city's Parks Department.

But locals were worried that the park design did not include community members' suggestions from last year, such as a dog park and natural wooden benches.

It seemed too soon for Community Board 1 to vote on the design by next week as planned, they said.

Sorge and Maher countered that the park was small, and that Newtown Barge Park would just be one factor in the overall waterfront green space plan.

Designs for Box Street Park, a planned park blocks away, have not yet been drawn up, they said, and will consider community wants for handball and basketball courts, as well as more natural green space.

Newtown Barge is too small to accommodate all the needs, Sorge said.

"If you added up all the items, you would need a 10-acre, 15-acre park," he said.

Chair of the parks committee, Phil Caponegro, agreed that some sort of plan should still move forward, saying that the important thing is to finish the park.

The committee decided to form a task force to take a better look at the design and to delay the final community vote on the park until February's full board meeting.

Once the task force meets, it will be able to offer a better recommendation to the board, locals decided.

"There are always things we want that we just can’t get," Caponegro said. "So we try to get as close to what we want and move forward. We want our park. That’s the main thing."