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St. Mary's Park Construction Starts After 8 Years of Sitting Idle

 The $2.7 million renovation will restore two adjacent playgrounds on Smith Street under the F and G tracks on the Carroll Gardens-Gowanus border.
The $2.7 million renovation will restore two adjacent playgrounds on Smith Street under the F and G tracks on the Carroll Gardens-Gowanus border.
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DNAinfo/Caroline Spivack

CARROLL GARDENS — St. Mary's Park is finally getting its $2.7 million makeover after the playground was bulldozed more than eight years ago during a major subway renovation overhead.

The Smith Street parkland between Nelson and Luquer streets was demolished in June 2009 during the Metropolitan Transportation Authority's work on a stretch of the Culver Viaduct supporting the F and G lines above the park.

Transit officials vowed to rebuild the green space — which is split into two lots by Huntington Street — and allocated $850,000 toward construction, but the chunk of change was less than a third of what is needed to revitalize the land.

To fill the void, Councilman Brad Lander and Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams secured an additional $1.85 million for a project that officials hope will enliven the area.

St. Mary Park

The long barren St. Mary's Park is set to open in April 2018. (DNAinfo/Caroline Spivack)

“St. Mary’s Park will be a great new place for neighbors to gather and kids to play,” Lander stated. “It’s an important part of our broader community planning work to improve the parks and open spaces around the Gowanus Canal to make sure that Gowanus is a vibrant, sustainable, mixed-use neighborhood for decades to come.”

The southern half of the park will feature an ADA accessible playground for tykes and older children, sprinklers, plenty of seating and planting beds for trees and shrubs. The northern lot will be decked out with a skate park, a synthetic turf field, an adult fitness equipment area, basketball courts and a walking track.

St. Mary Park

The northern half of the Park's Departments design for St. Mary Park. (DNAinfo/Caroline Spivack)

Both spaces are expected to be complete by April 2018 and will go a long way toward breathing life into barren land along the canal, said the executive director of the Gowanus Canal Conservancy, which is hashing out designs for a network of parks and public spaces centered around the canal dubbed the Gowanus Lowlands. 

"We envision a connected network of public spaces along the canal that knits together the history, the ecology, the environment in a way that works for the community now," Andrea Parker told DNAinfo New York. 

A trio of developers earlier this year snapped up a large parcel of canal-front land directly across from the park and may erect a hotel, office space and retail components there, The Real Deal reported.

► READ MORE: Who Owns All the Property Along the Gowanus Canal

The park's overhaul is a big win for those living along the border of Gowanus and Carroll Gardens who are in dire need of green space, said another community leader. 

"Our community really needs every space that we can get because we’re growing," said Mark Shames, the chairman of Community Board 6's environmental protection committee. "We need space for other things that are absolutely essential, but recreation and green space are essential too."