Building a new Fort: Community board approves Ft. Greene Park makeover after months of debate

Building a new Fort: Community board approves Ft. Greene Park makeover after months of debate
NYC Parks

They gave it the Greene light.

A controversial plan to makeover an entrance to Fort Greene Park is moving ahead after Community Board 2 voted to approve it on Wednesday. Locals charged for months that nearby residents, many of whom live in public-housing complexes, either didn’t know about the changes or didn’t want them, but board members’ outreach to park-goers found otherwise, according to the head of the advisory panel.

“They were saying was ‘Enough with the talk already, when are you going to start this?’ ” said chairwoman Shirley McCrae.

The Department of Parks and Recreation wants to redesign the entry at Myrtle Avenue and St. Edwards Street into a grand entrance leading to the Prison Ship Martyrs Monument by cutting down some trees, widening the pathway to the memorial, and paving over existing dirt. Plans also include adding a water feature, resurfacing the basketball courts, fixing the sidewalks, and adding more lighting.

The panel voted to approve the proposal by a tally of 48–0, with one recusal and one abstention.

CB2’s Parks Committee voted to approve the design in June, but locals, including elected officials, requested the board postpone a final vote until more people had a chance to weigh in on the redesign. The community board’s executive committee then heeded their demands and voted table the decision until more outreach was conducted.

In July, the parks department set up tables in the meadow where reps informed patrons of the proposal. And Brooklyn Parks Commissioner Marty Maher also led tours of the lawn, during which community board members solicited locals for their thoughts on the makeover.

Several board members at the Wednesday meeting said they found park-goers had no issues with the new entrance and a local pol, who took one of the tours, urged the panel to approve the redesign, saying striking it down would be a mistake.

“I would hate to see the opportunity come and go without us having a new and wonderful park,” said state Sen. Velmanette Montgomery (D–Clinton Hill).

Now that the community board signed off on the plan, the parks department will get to work on the green space’s renovations. Construction is expected to begin between the spring and fall of 2019 and will be done in phases in order to keep the Myrtle Avenue entrance open to patrons throughout the process, according to an agency spokeswoman.

Reach reporter Lauren Gill at lgill@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260–2511. Follow her on Twitter @laurenk_gill