Brooklyn’s most beloved park will enjoy some rejuvenation and revitalization this year as the Prospect Park Alliance launches the second year of its Re:New Prospect Park program.
Launched last spring after a difficult year for New York City, Re:New Prospect Park is dedicated to maintaining and improving the park, plus bringing in larger numbers of volunteers to pitch in with those projects.
“Prospect Park has been so important for all of us these last two years,” said James Snow, the Prospect Park Alliance’s interim president. “Our community has supported the park as volunteers, donors and advocates, and enabled us to sustain this essential green oasis.”
Starting this month, the Alliance is partnering with nonprofit ACE New York, with some funding provided by Amazon, for some additional resources for park maintenance. Until October, there will be more people and supplies on-hand to keep the park clean and tidy on weekends and busy weekdays, when things can quickly get messy. Four new groundskeepers will also be joining the park’s maintenance crews to help out during the busiest months for the park.
Of course, prevention is key, so brand-new signs encourage visitors to take all trash out of the park with them, and new trash cans have been installed in high-traffic areas.
“Prospect Park is a local gem offering healthy outdoor recreation to Brooklyn families,” said Carley Graham Garcia, Amazon’s Head of Community Affairs in New York, in a release. “This creative initiative offers new job opportunities, while ensuring Prospect Park continues to serve our local neighborhood especially as we head into the summer months. Amazon is thrilled to renew this partnership for Summer 2022.”
While the park’s beauty is being maintained, it will also be enhanced through a series of improvements, like installing new picnic tables, brushing up pedestrian pathways, and patching up stonework throughout the park. Crews will also be improving drainage systems across the entire 562-acre park, an especially important project as damaging flooding becomes both more frequent and more severe.
Brooklynites who want to spend some time outside helping to keep the park spic and span are more than welcome to do so with the Re:New Volunteer Crew. Supervised by park staff, volunteers will help out with projects like looking after playgrounds, removing invasive plant species, and repainting some dingy infrastructure. Last summer, the crew sanded down and repainted more than 100 benches, plus worn-down hand rails, bollards, and storage containers — and yanked out a whopping 2.6 tons of invasive foliage that was threatening the park’s native plant life.
Re:New was launched a year into the coronavirus pandemic, where a confluence of factors left the much-loved park looking a little worse for wear. With few options to gather safely, visitors flocked to spend their days in the park, whether they were jogging, picnicking, or playing sports. At the same time, the pandemic had depleted the city Parks Department’s coffers and left the Alliance under-funded, so keeping up with the daily wear-and-tear was a challenge.
Partnering with ACE and Amazon gave the park a much-needed boost, bringing Prospect Park’s lawns back to their former glory and giving New Yorkers a chance to help out in keeping Brooklyn’s Backyard beautiful for their neighbors.
“During the pandemic, it was made abundantly clear just how vital parks are to the health and wellbeing of this city,” said NYC Parks Commissioner Sue Donoghue. “As we continue to recover, our priority is to ensure that parks in all neighborhoods are clean, green and safe. We are so grateful for the support of our partners at the Prospect Park Alliance who share in our commitment through programs like the Re:New Initiative.”