Skateboarders are leading a push to turn a Boerum Hill park into a sanctuary for their gnarly tricks as an alternative to Brooklyn’s mean streets — but their dreams of “carving up the bowl” aren’t likely to happen unless someone comes up with some big bucks.
About two dozen people — many of them teenagers and carrying boards — showed up for a brainstorming session on Thursday night at Bethel Baptist Church with Parks Department officials about a totally rad transformation of the now-dour Thomas Greene Park on Third Avenue.
Local skaters, starved for a place free of traffic, pestering security guards and defensive property owners, hope the Parks Department realizes how underserved their needs are in city parks.
“There are a lot of skaters in Carroll Gardens, Boerum Hill and Park Slope,” said Ryan Rosa. “And we don’t really have any places to skate. We want to get kids out of the streets, because it’s not safe.”
Though not exactly flush with cash — only $900,000 has been allocated — the Parks Department has begun planning the redesign of the outdated park, boxed in by Degraw, Douglass and Nevins streets.
Thus far, Parks officials say they like the idea of a safe haven for shredders, which would be similar to Millennium Skate Park, which was carved out of Bay Ridge’s Owls Head Park several years ago.
“[They’re] the community that uses this park,” said Martin Maher, chief of staff for Brooklyn parks.
The proposal would put ramps, jumps, a skate repair shop and skate classes in the park year-round. The gold-plated version of the plan also calls for retrofitting the Double D pool for skating during the non-swimming months.
But ’boarders are not the only ones who want to see Thomas Greene Park gussied up.
Others at the meeting said they want to see a running track, food kiosk and rock-climbing area in the park, which is named for a community activist who died in 1988.
“It’s a wonderfully maintained park, but it hasn’t been redesigned in a long time,” said Sue Wolfe, president of the Beorum Hill Association, which helped spearhead efforts revitalize the not-so-green greenspace.
“It’s an old and tired park. You know it. We know it,” he said.
But it will be years before the city-block-sized park gets a complete makeover. The $900,000 in taxpayer money set aside by Borough President Markowitz, Councilman David Yassky (D–Brooklyn Heights) and Councilman Bill DeBlasio (D–Park Slope) will probably only be enough for “a sitting area or playground” — one that will take two years to complete, Maher said.
©2008 Community News Group
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