Mayor Bill de Blasio recently announced an allocation of $ 40 million in funds to restore the historic children’s pool and old rose garden at Prospect Park’s Vale of Cashmere. The Capital Fund is the largest single allocation for maintenance, upkeep, and restoration since 1867, when Brooklyn’s most historic park opened to the public.
“Prospect Park is Brooklyn’s backyard,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said. “This is where I got married and raised my family, and where New Yorkers from all walks of life come to spend time in nature. This historic funding of $ 40 million will ensure that the Vale regains all of its glory. “
The Vale refers to a 26-acre strip of land in the northeast corner of the park and is characterized by dramatic changes in elevation, cliffs, and dense forest. The old 2.5-acre rose garden was originally a children’s playground with the park’s first horse-drawn carousel. The area was later converted to a formal rose garden, but quickly fell out of public interest with the opening of the Brooklyn Botanic Garden in 1911.
In 2017, the Prospect Park Alliance embarked on an intensive community awareness campaign, Reimagine Prospect Park, to identify a new vision for the region. This included an exchange with over 2,000 community members. The team identified several possible layouts for the old rose garden, including a sensory garden and rustic arbor, a nature playground for families, a landscaped amphitheater, a small building with flexible gathering space, and public toilets.
The site of the historic children’s pool originally featured ornamental trees, shrubs, and a small pond where children sailed on miniature boats. In the 1890s, architects McKim, Mead and White installed a marble and granite balustrade by the pond that still stands today. The red brick walkways, lights and benches added in the 1960s have since fallen into disuse.
“Thanks to Mayor Bill de Blasio’s investment of $ 40 million, the gateway to the precious valley of Prospect Park, the last remaining forest in the borough, will soon be renewed, restored and revitalized,” said New York Parks Commissioner Gabrielle Fialkoff. “We are delighted to be working with our partners in the Prospect Park Alliance who provided the vision and advocated for this multi-faceted project. When completed, the Vale will be home to an amphitheater, a pollinator meadow and more.
The restoration of the valley is the centerpiece of a larger initiative to enhance and preserve the historic destinations of Prospect Park. Preparation of design documents for the restoration of Vale is expected to begin in 2022. The project will then go to the New York City Department of Parks for review and likely forwarded to the Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) and community groups. premises for comments and reviews.
Once approved, construction is expected to take 12 to 18 months.
“Our vision of fairness for New York City has always been to make all neighborhoods in the five boroughs safer, more welcoming and, therefore, more livable than we found them,” said Vicki Been, Mayor assistant in charge of housing and economic development. “As we continue our fight against COVID, we must prioritize our green spaces – where our loved ones come together to celebrate life and where we often venture out on our own to escape the hustle and bustle of the city. This investment underscores not only the importance of our parks, but also the city’s passion for creating and sustaining holistic communities where New Yorkers are proud to live, work and play.
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