WEST VILLAGE — After years of delays and complaints about inadequate funding, progress is expected on several parks projects in the Greenwich Village and SoHo area in 2017, a Parks Department official said.
Steve Simon, the chief of staff to the Parks Department's Manhattan Borough Commissioner, outlined the various projects at a Community Board 2 parks committee meeting on Dec. 7.
Construction on three of the projects — DeSalvio Playground, Father Fagan Park and SoHo Square — is expected to start in early 2017, likely in March, Simon said.
"What we usually find is that most contractors don't want to start in the middle of the winter, so we usually allow them to start in March," Simon said.
The Parks Department has already selected contractors for some of the projects, but the contracts are pending registration with City Comptroller Scott Stringer's office.
Once Stringer approves the contracts, the Parks Department "can legally tell the contractor, 'You can begin working,'" Simon said.
Some projects needed more funding, such as Father Fagan Park, Jackson Square Park and Jane Street Garden, which Parks secured from City Councilman Corey Johnson, Simon said.
"We had some money elsewhere in the budget that wasn't going anywhere, so he agreed to move it," Simon said.
The city also recently announced a plan to establish four new parks in the Village-SoHo area in an effort to appease locals angry about a plan to build on the Elizabeth Street Garden, but Simon did not include those parks in his update because they do not yet have funding, a Parks spokeswoman said.
Here's a breakdown of the various projects in the area:
Washington Square Park
Bound by Waverly Place, West Fourth Street, University Place and MacDougal Street in Greenwich Village
Renovation of the crumbling, cracked sidewalks around Washington Square Park has been underway for some time, and according to Simon, the sidewalk along the park's northern edge is now complete. The east and southeast sections will be completed by the Department of Design and Construction next year with $1.8 million in funding from the mayor's office, after the Department of Environmental Protection finishes their work on a water main below ground.
Spring and Mulberry Streets in Nolita
A contract has been awarded for the reconstruction of DeSalvio Playground, and just needs to be registered with the city comptroller, Simon said. The Parks Department expects to start construction in March 2017, with a 12-month timeline to completion, and $1.9 million in funding from the City Council and Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer — though the developer behind 75 Kenmare St. must first finish foundation work at their site.
Father Fagan Park
Sixth Avenue and Prince Street in SoHo
The reconstruction of Father Fagan Park has been in the works for years, and though it was expected to resume last year, Simon said the Parks Department "had to go back to [City Councilman] Corey Johnson and ask him for more money."
Johnson kicked in an additional $500,000 in funding, for a total of $2 million from the City Council. That funding will also cover the installation of a water feature at Charlton Plaza on the opposite side of Sixth Avenue.
As with DeSalvio, a contract for Father Fagan has been awarded and just needs to be registered with the comptroller's office, with work expected to begin in March.
Jackson Square Park
Greenwich and Eighth Avenues in West Village
Johnson also allocated an additional $360,000 for the renovation of Jackson Square Park, for a total of $1.16 million in funding from the City Council. The contract for that project is being packaged with the nearby Jane Street Garden's fence replacement and is currently open for bidding, with bids due by Jan. 10, 2017.
Jane Street Garden
36 Jane St. at Eighth Avenue in West Village
Johnson secured an additional $100,000 for a fence replacement for this community garden, which has long been privately maintained by neighborhood residents. The total funding is $240,000, provided by the City Council.
Hudson and Horatio Streets in West Village
Another long-awaited project is the reconstruction of the Seravalli Playground comfort station with upgraded fixtures and amenities, in part to bring the building into compliance with the American Disabilities Act. Simon said it will be completed with $1.526 million in City Council funds, and the contract documents are currently under legal review, to be sent out for bids "shortly."
Sixth Avenue and Spring Street in Hudson Square
The contract for reconstructing SoHo Square is currently under review by the Mayor's Office of Contract Services, and will be awarded and sent to the comptroller for registration "once they sign off on the contract award, which we're anticipating any day now," Simon said.
That park has $5 million in funding thanks to the involvement of the local business improvement district, the Hudson Square Connection. Part of the funding is also coming from the Department of Transportation, as the park is actually one of the DOT's "greenstreets," and the Economic Development Corporation.
Construction on SoHo Square may happen before March "because the Hudson Square Connection is very anxious for it," Simon said.
HSC is also pushing to rename the park Spring Street Park, though that decision is not yet final.
Little Red Square
Sixth Avenue and Bleecker Street in Greenwich Village
The design work on the park space in front of Little Red School House/Elisabeth Irwin High School is scheduled for completion by March, but completing the project itself will be complicated, as it involves the DOT extending the sidewalk into the crosswalk, moving a fire hydrant to that new curb bump-out, and potentially getting DEP to relocate a catch basin. The project has $950,000 in funding from the City Council.
Merchant's House Museum
29 East Fourth St. in NoHo
The Historic House Trust will be soliciting contract proposals to restore the west wall, slate roof and fire escape of the Merchant's House Museum, with $600,000 in funding from the City Council and Brewer.
Tony Dapolito Recreation Center
1 Clarkson St. in West Village
A design consultant has been hired for the reconstruction and stabilization of the rec center's stair tower, which is currently closed due to safety concerns. Work will also be done on the stair tower's "failing parapets" and the first phase of a full building renovation, with $2.857 million in funding from the mayor's office. The consultant is expected to begin work on the project in January, Simon said.