Parkside plaza a possibility, if neighbors will fund maintenance

The city has finally agreed to build a plaza outside the Parkside Avenue Q station — but the neighborhood activists who have long fought for the public space will be the ones footing the bill.

The Department of Transportation said it would construct a scaled back version of the grand plaza plan proposed by the Parkside Project Committee for the intersection of Ocean and Parkside avenues, provided the group can come up with the cash to keep it clean.

“It’s very good news,” said Rudolph Delson, a founder of the committee, which has lobbied city officials and agencies since 2011 to improve features around the southeast gateway to Prospect Park, particularly on the large paved expanse directly in front of the subway station. “But the good news is tempered by fact that we have to find the funding for a budget to maintain it.”

The Department of Transportation typically tasks neighborhood merchants groups including business improvement districts to look after newly constructed plazas, but there are no deep-pocketed organizations in the area, Delson said.

“Places like Bryant Park in Manhattan have no trouble raising that kind of money,” said Delson, who estimates it would cost about $25,000 to keep the plaza — which would include benches, tables, and chairs — clean and secure.

Open space activists hope to line up some neighboring businesses and community politicians to raise capital for upkeep, including Councilman Mathieu Eugene (D–Flatbush).

“The Councilman is supportive of the project,” said Michael Racioppo, Eugene’s chief of staff. “But we don’t know [our] budget yet.”

Supporters of the plan hope the plaza will win fans in the community, because unlike a recently scrapped proposal in Midwood, this one won’t take away any street space from motorists.

“The proposal would have no impact on the roadway or traffic patterns and would make use of in-house materials,” said Department of Transportation spokeswoman Nicholas Mosquera.

Reach reporter Eli Rosenberg at [email protected] or by calling (718) 260-2531. And follow him at twitter.com/emrosenberg.

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