Renovations on long-shuttered Cadman Plaza WWII memorial will finally begin next year

Renovations on long-shuttered Cadman Plaza WWII memorial will finally begin next year
The Brooklyn Paper / Sarah Portlock

The battle is finally over.

The long-awaited renovations on Downtown’s shuttered World War II memorial will begin next spring, officials revealed on Monday — and it is not a moment too soon for the local vets who have been lobbying the city to fix up and reopen the monument for years.

“It’s about time we’re getting some kind of results,” said Roy Vanasco, a Fort Greene resudebt who served in the Navy during the war. “I’m 91 and who knows how long I’ll last — I want to be at the door when it opens.”

The Cadman Plaza shrine’s interior features the names of the more than 11,500 Brooklynites who fell during the Second World War, but has been closed for the past 26 years because it is not accessible to people with disabilities.

The renovations will bring it up to code by installing an elevator from the ground floor to the basement bathrooms and ramps so everyone can easily access the memorial.

Vanasco is looking forward to seeing those names once again — although it is bittersweet to remember all his fallen friends who weren’t lucky enough to make it back to Brooklyn.

“It makes me happy and it makes me sad because over a dozen friends of mine that I grew up with, they never got off the beach,” he said.

Borough President Adams, Councilman Steve Levin (D–Boerum Hill), and the Feds all kicked in taxpayer dollars to cover the $4-million bill for the project, which is expected to take 12–18 months.

Community groups and local pols have pitched a more fantastical renovation including a visitors center, eatery, rooftop terrace, and an event space on top as part of Mayor DeBlasio’s so-called “Brooklyn Strand” proposal to overhaul all the public spaces between Borough Hall and Brooklyn Bridge Park.

But that is still just an idea right now, and a Parks spokeswoman said the agency has no plans or funds to construct the $12-million fancy additions.

The agency presented its more modest plan for the elevators and ramps to Community Board 2’s parks committee on Monday, and the panel’s members unanimously approved the proposal.

The full board will vote scheme at a meeting on April 12, although its decision is only advisory.

Reach reporter Lauren Gill at lgill@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260–2511. Follow her on Twitter @laurenk_gill
First look: A map of the planned renovations at the Cadman Plaza World War II memorial, which will bring it up to code so people can go inside once again.
NYC Department of Parks and Recreation

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