Newtown Barge Park is well on its way to becoming a reality; in early 2016, Greenpoint locals can expect to see construction begin on a revamped baseball diamond, artificial-turf playing fields, a waterfront walkway with benches, and green spaces with new shade trees.
The park will be located next to the forthcoming Greenpoint Landing development, the owners of which agreed to contribute $2.5 million to the $7 million project.
At a Brooklyn Community Board 1 meeting Tuesday, Phillip Caponegro said the Parks and Waterfront Committee, which he chairs, unanimously endorsed the plans with a few recommendations to the developers: the esplanade should be less linear in design whenever possible, the City Parks Department and NYC Economic Development Corporation should work with the Newtown Barge Alliance to add additional elements of greenery to the shoreline, and there should be assurances that there will be an ongoing public arts program at the park.
The community board’s endorsement comes with the additional caveat that Box Street Park, another new park slated for the area, must have a basketball court, a handball court and a dog run. These were features that residents said they wanted but that Newtown Barge Park can’t accommodate without severely cutting into the park’s open green space, Caponegro said.
He also told the board Tuesday that the board’s support for Newtown Barge Park comes with the stipulation that the parks department bring its preliminary designs of Box Street Park to the public earlier in the process so that the committee and the public will have more opportunities to give their input.
This last request was prompted by the series of events that led to the approval of Newtown Barge Park’s design. The first public hearing on the topic was in September 2014, and by the time the plans were brought to the public in early January they were basically complete. The committee wanted to bring the plans to a vote at the community board meeting later that month, which residents said left almost no time for revisions incorporating their input.