After years of delays, the city finally broke ground on a new Sheepshead Bay park — but now some locals are questioning whether the new space will be worth the wait.
“Our community deserves better after 11 years of waiting,” said Sheepshead Bay resident Arthur Borko.
Planning for Brigham Street Park officially began in 2011, but Superstorm Sandy delayed construction for several years as the Parks Department has attempted to raise the area around the planned greenspace by six feet.
Now, the $6.15 million park at Brigham Street and Emmons Avenue is expected to be completed sometime next May, according to a Parks Department spokeswoman.
But after nearly a decade of kicking the can down the road, Borko says he doesn’t even want a park, preferring something more practical instead.
“I personally would have preferred a municipal parking structure,” said Borko.
And while he may have given up his quest for more parking, Borko expressed hope that the city’s designs incorporate elements that hint at the neighborhood’s seaside traditions.
“Let’s hope they don’t forget this community’s roots, and that they include a fishing dock, and bathrooms,” he said.
Another local civic leader expressed bemusement at the park’s costly price tag, and demanded city planers include what would be the city’s first public boat launch.
“In a borough of four million people there isn’t one public boat launch. There should be nice seating for people to look out at the bay,” said Bay Improvement Group president Steve Barrison. “It should be simple, and not cost millions of dollars.”
The majority of the funding for the park — $3.65 million — came from the late-City Councilman Lew Fidler’s discretionary budget, while the Parks Department is picking up the rest of the tab.
A Parks Department spokeswoman said the new space will feature a number of state-of-the-art facilities when it opens to the public next spring.
“Brigham Street Park is currently undergoing a major upgrade which will boast a brand new playground, swings, a spray shower area, a hillside slide, a picnic area, and more,” said Anessa Hodgson.