Community Board 2’s Parks Committee met on Wednesday, November 5th; on the agenda as a topic, among other issues, was Washington Square Park and private conservancy. Report back on that segment will be next. But first, some updated information on the long awaited repair of the park’s perimeter sidewalks which was discussed separately. A member of the audience wanted to know the status of the sidewalks’ repair mentioning the horrible state they were in, particularly, he noted, on Washington Square South.
Last year, the date given for repair of the park’s sidewalks was summer 2014. Now, according to Sarah Neilson, Washington Square Park Administrator, the question on the table is “whether to start in winter [2014-2015] or [they may] wait until spring .”
Construction of Washington Square Park’s redesign began in late December 2007 and consisted of three phases to date.
Phase III opened in stages in April 2014 (see some photos from the June ribbon cutting ceremony at the end of the post).
The Parks Department’s Manhattan Chief of Staff Steve Simon was in attendance at the Community Board meeting and stated that part of the reason for the delay is that the sidewalk construction needed to go out to bid (an RFP – request for proposals from contractors). When asked if every sidewalk goes out to bid, Simon stated: “This is a complete reconstruction of the sidewalk [around the entire park]. It is an outside contractor. Maybe you can call it Phase IV.”
Simon quoted the cost of the sidewalk work as ringing up somewhere in the range of $1.5 – $1.7 million. Washington Square Park’s redesign to date has cost over $32 million (note: it was budgeted at the onset for $16 million).
Since it has been known for awhile that the sidewalks were in this sad state, it is unclear why this could not have moved along a little more swiftly or placed in an earlier phase of the work.
As for the trees planted around the sidewalks that have died or are dying (separate from the ones dying within the park), Neilson said where the pits are now “empty, they will have trees.”
Never posted at this blog were photos from Phase III Ribbon Cutting held in June 2014; here are a couple:
WSP Blog report-back on Community Board 2 meeting and conservancy up next!