It has been talked about for years now – the perimeter sidewalks at Washington Square Park and their neglected state and desperate need for repair. And, at last, the work is set to begin this week, likely Monday. Last week, workers at the park were preparing the area for the job. The work will be done in segments. This is more than a repair, it is an actual reconstruction of the sidewalks.
Washington Square West from Waverly Place to Washington Place is up first (basically half of the width of the park) and then the work will move on to the next section and continue around the park. At the same time, the Department of Design and Construction will be working on the “Washington Square Park water main project.”
The cause for the years-long delay of repairing the walkways remains unknown. At a meeting of Community Board 2’s Parks Committee in early August, WSP Blog asked the cause for the delay. Washington Square Park Administrator Sarah Neilson had no answer. When asked by an audience member the cost of the sidewalk project, Parks Department representatives, including Neilson and re-designer George Vellonakis, (this was a public hearing addressing this very issue) said they did not have this information (despite the fact that the figure had previously been announced).
A: The cost is $1.7 million.
The work is being done by outside contractors. They have 365 days to complete the work.
At the C.B. 2 meeting, it was stated that the work would begin by “late August/Labor Day.” In reality, it is starting over a month later than even that. NYC Parks Commissioner Mitchell Silver has been boasting lately about projects being on time for completion – but what about being on time for start times?
Phase III, the alleged final phase of the contentious redesign of Washington Square Park, initially included the sidewalk repair. Elements of this phase opened in stages – large dog run, followed by the Mounds, then admin/bathroom(/NYPD) building. The repair of the sidewalks kept getting moved farther and farther into the future despite their terrible and unsafe condition.
The redesign of Washington Square Park began in late December 2007. It was scheduled at the onset to be completed in its totality in three years; it ended up taking six and a half years, more than double the initial time at more than double the initial cost of $16 million; currently at somewhere between $30 – $35 million, possibly more.
The sidewalks were at one point part of Phase III (and perhaps in another earlier phase at some point) but were ultimately moved out of that phase entirely and allotted to a new, final stage – presumably set to be completed some day.
Start dates given over the last two – three years were at varying points: By Summer 2013, then Set to begin Summer 2014, then Spring 2015, then latest was early Summer 2015. Their condition continues to deteriorate. Technically, they are overdue by – at the least – four years but no matter the number of years, they should be fixed.
Previously at Washington Square Park Blog:
Washington Square Park Sidewalk Fix News February 12, 2015