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Now opening: Prospect Park getting two new entry points along forgotten Flatbush Avenue border

Welcome!: New plaza entrances on Flatbush Avenue will give park lovers new ways to access Prospect Park.
Prospect Park Alliance

They’re new ways to take a walk in the park!

Two new entrances to Prospect Park will soon allow patrons to step into a historically neglected stretch of the meadow along Flatbush Avenue.

The $5.6-million project to create the access points between Grand Army Plaza and the meadow’s zoo will also fund cosmetic improvements to areas surrounding the entryways, and ultimately make Brooklyn’s Backyard a more inclusive retreat for all Kings Countians, according to one pol who allocated taxpayer dollars towards the makeover.

“For years, the east side of Prospect Park was second-class to its western half. Visitors from some communities were valued differently than others, and it reflected in the quality of the park experience and the general upkeep,” said Borough President Adams, who with Crown Heights Councilwoman Laurie Cumbo, set aside $2.4 million for the scheme. “With the investments we have made, our crown jewel is getting the polish it deserves on every side.”

The pair of Flatbush Avenue entrances are the first portals added to the park since the 1940s, according to a spokeswoman for meadow caretaker the Prospect Park Alliance, who said one will be installed nearer the Prospect Park Zoo, and the other closer to Grand Army Plaza, outside the meadow’s Rose Garden — another patch of the green space the alliance is working to restore.

The entrances will be the first park access points on Flatbush Avenue between Grand Army Plaza and the zoo since the meadow opened in 1867, according to alliance spokeswoman Deborah Kirschner, who said the metal fence that currently runs along the park border there was installed in the early 1900s.

The Department of Parks and Recreation coughed up the additional $3.2 million from its taxpayer-funded budget for the entryways, which will be attractions in themselves, according to Kirschner, who said the plans for them include creating tiered seating and landscaped plazas that lead to paths inside Brooklyn’s Backyard, including a new running trail going in as part of the renovation.

The proposal also includes installing a traffic signal and pedestrian crosswalk across Flatbush Avenue outside the new entrance nearest to Grand Army Plaza, she said.

But before park-goers can pass through the new portals, workers will first restore the stretch of sidewalk they open onto by paving its cracked cement, broadening it from 20- to 30-feet wide, installing new lights, benches, and fencing along the meadow’s border, and replacing unwanted plants with new trees, Kirschner said.

Alliance leaders expect to finish the sidewalk restoration this fall, and the new entrances will open in the spring of 2020, she said.

Elsewhere in Brooklyn’s Backyard, the mayor’s office is allocating $2 million to spruce up roughly 1,200 feet of park pathways and bring new lights and seating to an area near the Vale of Cashmere — where a herd of goats helped workers clear invasive weeds over several months last year — according to Kirschner, who said work on that project should begin this fall.

And alliance leaders recently kicked off a project to construct an outdoor fitness center on the park’s Parade Grounds, which is scheduled to open next spring, according to the meadow’s stewards.

Reach reporter Colin Mixson at cmixson@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-4505.

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