ONLY ON SHEEPSHEAD BITES: After many years, proposals, battles and studies, the plans to begin work on Sheepshead Bay’s newest green space, Brigham Street Park, are finally unveiled.
The park will be sited at Brigham Street, sandwiched between Emmons Avenue and the waterfront. The current site is now a rubble-filled lot abutting the entrance to the bike path and greenway leading out to Plumb Beach. That entrance is about to get a whole lot more appealing with what looks like might be the new gem of Emmons Avenue’s eastern terminus.
The park will feature a playground, walking path, picnic tables and lots and lots of greenery.
Let’s take a closer look at the plans currently being circulated to local leaders by the Parks Department, and which will go for approval by the Public Design Commission later this month.
You can click on any of the images below to see it larger.
Let’s look at the layout:
The park and its construction is going to be built in two phases. Phase one is at the northern end, closer to Emmons Avenue. This is where the playground and comfort station will be. Part of the reason the project is being broken up into two phases is that the southern end of what will become the park is currently owned by the Department of Environmental Preservation, which has underground pipes that they need access to. They’ve agreed to transfer the property to the Parks Department, keeping the area (shaded above) as an easement which Parks will not build upon. The concrete “dock” along the water will remain with DEP, although it looks from the rendering that there will be public access to it.
The comfort station won’t be built as part of the first phase, and this page of the plans shows why. New regulations following Superstorm Sandy require the station to be built at a higher level than previously anticipated in order to withstand flooding, and so more funding will need to be allocated to build it.
The overall cost of the park has swelled because of this, from $3.5 million to $4.3 million. According to the Parks Department, that cost is already in the budget. But Councilman Fidler, who, along with Mayor Michael Bloomberg, has allocated the lion’s share for the project, told Sheepshead Bites that the area’s new councilman elect, Chaim Deutsch, will have to put some more towards the project next year.
Above is a larger version of the first image in this post, which you can click to zoom in on and get a better feel for the layout.
Some information on the materials and designs for the trash cans, benches, bike racks and more. We even get a Flushing Meadows pedestrian lightpole. Ain’t that grand? (I’m not quite sure why this was picked. It would seem the replica antique lightpoles on Sheepshead Bay Road and Emmons Avenue would’ve been a more appropriate choice. But we’re nitpicking.)
The fun stuff: Some really cool looking new designs for the playground, with futuristic looking structures. I really dig this, and apparently only a handful of parks in New York City are using these designs right now (including Canarsie Park, which Councilman Fidler funded and cut the ribbon on earlier this month. He said that if you want a feel for what Brigham Park will become, you should check it out. )
The image above shows how the whole thing will come together, and includes extra details such as the planting of native long grass. In fact, it seems there will be a heavy investment in native species of flora here, as well as an attempt to capture the feel of the adjacent wildlife refuge and reserve of Plumb Beach.
Fidler told us the project will go out to bid in the spring of 2014 and construction will begin soon after. Both phases will go out to bid at the same time.
The story of Brigham Street Park goes back quite a ways. Members of the Sheepshead Bay – Plumb Beach Civic Association and the Bay Improvement Group had been pushing a number of proposals, at times competing, for years. City officials finally promised residents that a park would be built on the city-owned land in the early 1990s. More than 20 years later, several ideas fell by the wayside, including part park, part parking lot, and even a combination of parkland and commercial development.
The city finally decided on making the entire thing a park, and the Sheepshead Bay – Plumb Beach Civic Association teamed up with New Yorkers for Parks to draw up their own proposal. In 2008 they did just that, unveiling plans for one of the city’s most ecologically innovative proposals, chock full of bioswales and other natural defenses to protect the waterfront from pollution and runoff from the nearby highway.
The diva-ish Parks Department, though, chose not to take note. Instead, with funding from Assemblyman Alan Maisel, Borough President Mary Markowitz and Councilman Fidler, the department began working on its own plans.
They did some (legally required) brainstorming with the community at a Sheepshead Bay – Plumb Beach Civic meeting in March 2012, and said it would be at least three years before construction begins – which puts them a little ahead of schedule.