Today’s news:

Greenbacks for Thomas Greene Pk

The Friends of Douglass/Greene Park announced that $800,000 in capital funds has been allocated towards renovating Thomas Greene Park. The park abuts a popular swimming pool (the “Double D”) to the west and is bordered by Third Avenue, Douglass and DeGraw streets.

“We are very grateful to Council members [David] Yassky and [Bill] de Blasio and Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz for supporting the communities’ efforts to upgrade this park,” said Sue Wolfe, the organization’s president. “Thomas Greene Park is profoundly underutilized and has not been updated in decades. The communities surrounding it are in great need of green space.”

“With the allocation of capital funds, Friends of Douglass/Greene Park, Inc. will begin the first step in renovating the park — a process of participatory, community-based planning. With the help of the NYC Parks Department, we will engage a broad cross section of community members in developing a plan to renovate this valuable public property, said Friends co-founder, Jo Anne Simon. “Our goals include adding a much-needed comfort station, and making the park an attractive recreation destination for families with young children, older children and teens, elderly people, and those who work in the area’s many businesses, enhancing quality of life in the area.”

The immediate area is densely occupied — with a well-documented lack of green space. A study conducted in 2005 by Phillips Preiss Shapiro at the request of the Boerum Hill Association. The study was made possible by funds from the JM Kaplan Fund. Friends of Douglass/Greene Park began as a result of that study, which identified the park as one that was underutilized, yet in the middle of an area of expected residential growth.

The neighborhoods that will be served by this park are Boerum Hill, Carroll Gardens, Park Slope, and Gowanus, including the Wyckoff Gardens and the Gowanus and Warren Street houses. Community based partners include Gowanus Canal Conservancy, The Fifth Avenue Committee and South Brooklyn Industrial Development Corporation.

The Friends of Douglass/Greene Park, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) organization. Maria Pagano, the organization’s Secretary, said, “Our mission is to work with the surrounding communities and organizations to revitalize Thomas Greene Park and to support ecological, recreational, educational and economic uses that increase the park’s attractiveness as a destination while respecting the character of the surrounding areas.”

Board member Linda Blyer wrote: “We are thrilled that the elected officials have agreed to put money in the budget to support recreation in an area with limited park space. This money will help provide exercise and recreation for hundreds of children in Brooklyn who will have a better opportunity to develop physically in a play space with color, safe equipment that has been planned with their needs in mind.”

Friends of Douglass/Greene Park has already generated community support for this effort through events have held in the park, including the recent Sunset Swim held on opening day for the city’s pools. Friends of Douglass/Greene Park is committed to on-going upkeep of the park.

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