A nameless patch of green space characterized in the past as a tangle of thorny weeds and wild shrubs padlocked in by a wrought iron fence was quietly opened yesterday in the heart of the BAM Cultural District.
And as a fitting example of ‘build it and they come,’ locals have already been flocking in and relaxing on the ample street furniture while basking in sun and shade.
“It’s been closed for at least a year. I remember when there was nothing here but weeds and stuff. But I seen them working in here and they did it quick. I knew when they was doing it was going to be fast because it was a small area and they did a really good job,” said Derrick Mitchell, 54, who has been living in what is locally known as the Fort Greene Projects, and more specifically, NYCHA’s Walt Whitman Houses for 49 years.
“I feel really good about it. I live on the other side of the park [Fort Greene Park]. I come here every day to take the [G] train. I didn’t think they would finish it that fast because the subway is under you,” he added.
The triangular 10,000-square foot park is located opposite BAM and bound by Fulton Street, Lafayette Avenue, and St. Felix Place.
“We’re excited to share that the former BAM Park re-opened to the public this week,” said Parks Department Spokesperson Anessa Hodgson. “The newly revamped park offers opportunities for respite and relaxation in the heart of downtown Brooklyn. We look forward to hosting a formal ribbon-cutting and naming ceremony in the coming weeks.”
Hodgson said the site was not previously Parks property, but now will be operated and maintained by NYC Parks going forward.
The park underwent a nine-month renovation, which included installing new plantings and pathways; replacing sidewalks and removing high fences to improve accessibility; and constructing a new seating area on a raised deck at the corner of Fulton and Lafayette, she said.
The entire project cost $3.2 million, including $2.1 million from the state and $1.1 million from the city.
“Anytime we can add green space to our community, it’s always a win for local residents and visitors to the neighborhood,” said Assemblymember Walter T. Mosley (D-Fort Greene, Clinton Hill, Prospect Heights, Crown Heights, Bed-Stuy). “It’s definitely an inviting space whether you are waiting to catch a bus [on Fulton Street] to go further downtown or to go to all the local new businesses. The FAB [Fulton Area Businesses] and BAM really cultivated the area around the park and now the park will be welcoming to all.”