Hey, Greenpoint’s getting a shiny new park! Alright, technically it’s a “playground,” but with a new skate park, handball court and basketball court, hopefully it’ll make grownups want to come out and play, too. The major overhaul of tired old Sgt. William Dougherty Playground is scheduled to begin late next year, according to Department of Transportation officials, who announced the plans at a Community Board meeting last night.
The state funded project was prompted by BQE construction, which cut into the park and several adjacent industrial buildings. The buildings have been demolished and the businesses relocated, but the playground, in its somewhat dilapidated condition, still remains.
To remedy the issue of the intruding highway, the Department of Transportation came up with a new, rectangular design for the park that’s slightly bigger (though still tiny at .83 acres compared to the current .76 acres). It features a skate park, designed by “mayor of NYC skateboarding” Steve Rodriguez of 5Boro, with its own viewing area. Elements are likely to include a bank to bank, double mound, hubba (skate wall), flat bank with ride wall, and a 3-inch ramp.
There will be a spray shower for the local tykes to run through (that’s new), and a play area with new equipment for them to climb on (atop a rubber safety surface, of course).
Existing fixtures like the basketball court and handball courts will be relocated. New gates will secure the three entrances to the park, two off of Anthony Street and one on the corner of Vandervoort Ave and Cherry Street. A comfort station will be constructed on the Anthony Street side of the playground between the spray shower and the skate park.
One thing some community members mentioned they wanted at a recent public session that the plans don’t include: a basketball court that could be converted into a skating rink in the winter. “We found it would be too much of a liability,” explained Jim Lau of the New York Department of Transportation. “It wouldn’t be feasible.”
Construction is scheduled to begin in September or October of next year and should be completed in about a year and half, according to Lau. Having secured the community board’s approval as well that of the NYC Parks Department, the last stop is the Public Design Commission on Tuesday, and the project will be free to move forward, Lau said.