PROSPECT-LEFFERTS GARDENS — Get ready for a prettier plaza on Parkside Avenue.
This weekend, a new look is coming to the plaza outside the Parkside Q train station at Parkside and Ocean avenues in Prospect-Lefferts Gardens. The makeover includes new plantings, tables and chairs and community events organized to enliven the space, project organizers said.
A steel drum and brass band performance will mark the opening ribbon-cutting at 2 p.m. on Saturday, May 2. Events on the plaza this summer will include performances hosted by the local spoken-word and jazz performance space, Inkwell Cafe, every second Sunday of the month.
The new space is the result of years of work by locals, said resident Rudolph Delson, who first noticed the potential of the previously empty, desolate area on his commute to work when he moved to the neighborhood in 2008.
“The waste of space in that corner of the world was so glaring,” he said.
Planning began in earnest in 2011 when the Prospect-Lefferts Gardens Neighborhood Association held a design competition to recreate the plaza. An architecture firm on Parkside Avenue, ChoShields Studio, won with a scheme that aimed to add a lot more green to the space. Community board approval came two years later, Delson said, followed by a fundraising drive that includes money from Councilmember Mathieu Eugene, private donations and the newly formed Parkside Empire Merchants Association.
But the new plaza is not set in stone, he said.
“Every year, we have to come up with the money to maintain it,” he said. “The elected officials are going to have to step up and the businesses are going to have to step up and the neighbors are going to have to step up.”
But for now, those who helped with the project are happy to see the space used effectively.
"The plaza is the entrance to our neighborhood and our commercial strip," said Shelley Kramer, vice president of the merchants association and owner of the Flatbush Avenue toy store Play Kids, in a statement. "It is going to be what brings people out of Prospect Park after skating at the Lefrak Center and into our shops and our restaurants. It's also just a great place to sit and relax."
The ribbon-cutting for the plaza is set for Saturday, May 2 at 2 p.m. at the corner of Parkside and Ocean Avenues.