The DNAinfo archives brought to you by WNYC.
Read the press release here.

Fort Greene Groups Want $5M for Fixes at Neighborhood Parks

By Alexandra Leon | February 9, 2016 5:11pm
 Local business leaders are asking the parks department for funding for two Fort Greene parks.
Local business leaders are asking the parks department for funding for two Fort Greene parks.
View Full Caption

FORT GREENE — Local business groups are asking the city to fund improvements at two Fort Greene Parks to make them more accessible to the public.

Representatives from the Fulton Area Business Alliance and the Myrtle Avenue Brooklyn Partnership presented their ideas to redesign Cuyler Gore Park and Fort Greene Park at a Community Board 2 meeting Tuesday night.

The groups want each park to receive $5 million through the Parks Without Borders initiative, a recent $50 million effort by the mayor.

The FAB Alliance, which is rallying for improvements at Cuyler Gore Park, says the space is centrally located, but underutilized.

The park, which is named after prominent local minister and abolitionist Theodore Cuyler, is a small, triangular green space located between Fulton Street and Greene and Carlton avenues.

While annual events like the Juneteenth Arts Festival draw a big crowd to the park, FAB Director Phil Kellogg said barriers keep residents from strolling in on a daily basis.

“There’s something about it that’s uninviting, unwelcoming,” Kellogg said. “It’s potentially such a wonderful asset for the community.”

FAB’s vision for the park, after receiving input from residents, is to create a more open environment by taking down some fencing, adding trees, installing a dog run and improving event programming. 

The park’s playground, which is the only area that isn’t fenced in, would be blocked to keep children from running onto the street.

Community Board 2’s parks and recreation committee has backed a fix-up at Cuyler Gore, calling it a “nexus” for different parts of the community.

But the Parks Department says fixes would be difficult at the park, which is located above the C line.

“It’s over the subway, which makes it challenging, but not impossible,” said Marty Maher, chief of staff for Brooklyn parks.

Meanwhile, members of the Myrtle Avenue Brooklyn Partnership are hoping the funding will go to the much larger Fort Greene Park just a couple blocks north.

The Partnership, along with the Fort Greene Park Conservancy, wants to see improvements made to the park’s northwest corner at St. Edwards Street, in order to provide more greenspace for residents to hold more picnics and barbecues.

“People are using that area like their backyard, like their open space,” said Meredith Phillips Almeida, the Partnership’s executive director, who added that her group wants to add space so that people can have more cookouts, more workout space and more space for other recreational activities.

Julian Macrone, the park’s programming and development coordinator, said the northwest edge was meant to be the park’s main entrance, leading to the steps of the historic Prison Ship Martyrs' Monument.

But that corner hasn’t seen capital improvements from the Parks Department since the 1930s and has lost some of its grandeur.

“It doesn’t aesthetically feel like the proper, grand entrance to the park that it should be,” Macrone said.

A revamp for the park’s entrance would create a more formal gathering space that could include an ice skating rink during the colder months, Macrone said. The conservancy also wants to add fitness equipment, increase lighting and fix up eroded sidewalks along Myrtle Avenue. 

The Parks Department is collecting feedback for the Parks Without Borders initiative until the end of February, and will announce which parks will get funded in the spring. The department will grant $5 million to eight city parks, with at least one park in each borough receiving funding. 

To send feedback about your neighborhood park, visit the Parks Without Borders website.