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Central Park Renovation to Replace 'Dust Bowl' With Restored Meadow, Paths

By  Emily Frost and Shaye Weaver | October 10, 2016 4:37pm 

 The Central Park Conservancy is renovating an area that has become dusty and dry due to improper irrigation. 
Central Park Meadow Will Undergo Renovation
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UPPER WEST SIDE — A section of Central Park's west side will see its meadow restored and paths made more accessible to visitors under a $5 million renovation plan. 

The project will focus on a western stretch of the park between West 86th and 90th streets, said Lane Addonizio, vice president for planning at the Central Park Conservancy, which is paying for the renovations.

This section of park between Central Park West and the Reservoir, which hasn't had an update since the late 1980s, has seen a "dramatic increase" in park users who have "worn the landscape down," Addonizio explained. In addition, poor drainage has created a "large dust bowl" in this area, she said.

Along with restoring the meadow and installing a better irrigation system, the Conservancy will add more mulch and plantings around its perimeter, Addonizio added. 

As it currently does elsewhere in the park, the Conservancy will plant red flags to mark the grass as unusable when the area needs maintenance or is wet, she noted. The "red flag" system will also help prevent erosion.

The yearlong project, which will begin in December or January, will also include an upgrade to the area's pathways, which were last updated 1989, Addonizio said.

By re-grading the paths to give them a gentler slope, the Conservancy will make them more accessible to people with disabilities. The project will also repair damage to the paths and add handrails near West Drive.

The goal is to make the route from the entrance to the park to the Reservoir much easier to navigate for people of all abilities, Addonizio said.

At the entrances located at West 86th Street and West 90th Street, the Conservancy will replace aging and deteriorated pavement and sidewalk curbs and install granite blocks to be used as benches. 

The Conservancy will also replace the benches at the entrances with it iconic World's Fair benches, she added.

The Upper East Side's Community Board 8 Parks Committee approved the plan last Thursday. The Conservancy will present the plan to the Upper West Side's Community Board 7 on Oct. 17.