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Construction Starts on Library Garden Where Knuffle Bunny Statue Could Go

 Construction started Tuesday on a storytelling garden outside the Park Slope Public Library. Plans call for a statue of Knuffle Bunny in the garden.
Construction started Tuesday on a storytelling garden outside the Park Slope Public Library. Plans call for a statue of Knuffle Bunny in the garden.
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Friends of Park Slope Library/Mo Willems

PARK SLOPE — Aggle flaggle klabble!

Construction is underway on an outdoor reading garden at the Park Slope public library that organizers hope will one day also hold a statue of the beloved children's book character Knuffle Bunny.

Construction started Tuesday on the library's new "reading circle and storytelling garden," which will include an amphitheater with a small stage, community gardening space, paths, lighting, planters and a water fountain.

Plan for Park Slope Public Library Storytelling Garden

The garden will have features for young and old, including stroller parking and a special sitting area for senior citizens.

If the Landmarks Preservation Commission and the Public Design Commission approve it, the outdoor space will also be home to a statue of Knuffle Bunny, the title character in Mo Willems' 2007 children's book about a beloved stuffed rabbit that goes missing in Park Slope.

The Friends of the Park Slope Library will pay for the $6,000 bronze statue. Of the $385,000 total project budget, $250,000 will be covered by taxpayer money through City Councilman Brad Lander's participatory budgeting program.

The program allows residents in Lander's district to vote on neighborhood projects they want funded. The library garden was on the ballot in 2015.

"This storytelling garden will transform the library’s lawn into a vibrant new public space for all of its neighbors to enjoy," said Jonathan Kuhr, facilitator of the PBNYC District 39 Arts, Culture, and Community Facilities Committee, whose members helped get the garden on the participatory budgeting ballot.

"Our committee was particularly excited about the chance to create a space for learning and socializing outdoors that was accessible to all."

Construction is expected to be complete in the winter of 2016-17, a library spokeswoman said.

The construction will take place outdoors in the grassy area along Ninth Street and won't affect the public's access to the library. That's good news for one prominent former Park Sloper — Mayor Bill de Blasio sometimes uses a room in the library to phone in to WNYC, the New York Times reported this week.

The city's Department of Design and Construction designed the garden and will manage the construction. The DDC also designed and managed an interior renovation of the library that took nearly three years to complete.

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