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City Unveils Updated Design for Father Fagan Park in SoHo

By Danielle Tcholakian | March 6, 2015 1:46pm | Updated on March 9, 2015 9:06am
 The Parks Department unveiled a new design for the $1.5 million Father Fagan Park renovation.
New Design for Father Fagan Park Renovation
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SOHO — A small SoHo park is finally getting a $1.5 million upgrade, after city agencies resolved their dispute over the design.

Father Fagan Park, at Sixth Avenue and Prince Street, will get a facelift including new greenery, sleek trash cans, a drinking fountain and benches with black metal curlicues and slats made from recycled plastic, officials announced at a Community Board 2 meeting this week.

The City Council set aside funding for the project four years ago, but the work has been on hold because the Department of Environmental Protection, which manages sewers and a water main beneath the site, had concerns about the Parks Department's design.

To address DEP's concerns, the Parks Department agreed to pave the park in concrete, which is easy to tear up and replace, and also to use only small removable fences rather than taller, more permanent ones, said Gustavo Frindt, a senior landscape architect with Parks.

The changes will enable the DEP to access the sewers and water main for repairs with minimal disruption to the park, Frindt told CB2's Parks and Waterfront Committee Wednesday night while unveiling the new design.

"There’s really nothing permanent here," Frindt said. "DEP can come, they can dig it up, then put back the concrete."

The Parks Department had originally hoped to have more greenery and less concrete in the park, but agreed to the compromise design, officials said.

The park's design was also limited by underground subway infrastructure and because the FDNY needs space to reach the five-story buildings behind the park.

To limit future disruptions, the DEP will inspect and possibly repair the old brick-lined sewer main beneath the park before the renovation begins, spokesman Rick Muller said at the meeting.

One hiccup remains: Frindt and Simon said that because of the proximity of the tree pits to the subway tunnel, the MTA will have the final say regarding whether the Parks Department can replace the three dead and dying trees dedicated to the memory of three local firefighters killed responding to a blaze on Watts Street in 1994.

A spokeswoman for the MTA said the agency is waiting to hear from the Parks Department with a request.

CB2's full board will vote on the design later this month, and then the plan will go before the city's Public Design Commission.

The project will take about two years to finish, Frindt said.