Part VI Update on NYC's Redesign Of Washington Square Park — The Corner "plazas" and … Conservancy?

Danger Construction Area
Washington Sq Park: Danger Construction Area

This photo captures a portion of the redesign of the North West corner of Washington Square Park with its “historic plaza” in the background.

The problem with the Plazas (which will inhabit each corner of the Park) is that they are a decent size but not that large and then the re-designer places a huge flower bed in the middle. What happens then? It changes the whole flow and interactions of people within the park. Plus a considerable reduction in the public space.

This is an issue I raised at the Washington Square Park Task Force meeting of Community Board 2 and local elected officials such as Council Member Alan Gerson, Speaker Christine Quinn and Assembly Member Deborah Glick, among others, who sent “representatives.” The Task Force then submits meeting notes to the New York City Parks Department with their questions and concerns and awaits feedback.

My concern with the Task Force is they have not been strong or vocal enough with their questions and concerns and mandates. The WSPTF can weigh in on the size of the flower beds, the plantings, the size and location of the pathways, the design, the amount of public space – significant items.

Conservancy ?

A big question in relation to Washington Square Park is whether — in order to upkeep the extensive redesign work being done and pay for future Phases — New York City will install a Conservancy for the Park.

The Conservancy model is another one of the City’s (and Mayor Bloomberg‘s) favored public-private partnerships. In reality the Conservancy becomes the arbiter of the space. These are our public parks and they need to remain public. Especially Washington Square Park.

At the meeting, the question was asked: “Will there be a conservancy which will have NYU and other corporate interests on the board?” Rebecca Ferguson, Washington Square Park administrator and Parks Department spokesperson stated, “There are no plans for a Conservancy.”


Stay tuned… there’s more!

See Parts I-V if you are just catching up(go to Key Posts on right sidebar).

Click here for Part VII.

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