Parks Without Borders will choose eight sites around the city to undergo major renovations to make them more inviting. The program is part of OneNYC, a long-term effort to address a variety of issues around the city, including aging infrastructure, the evolving economy and changing climate conditions.
Mayor Bill de Blasio's office has set aside $50 million in capital funding for Parks Without Borders for the project.
According to Parks spokesperson Matt Drury, 85 percent of New Yorkers live within walking distance of a the park, he told members of Community Board 6 at its monthly meeting last week.
The goal for Parks Without Borders is to add and widen park entrances and beautify neighborhoods and surrounding spaces, as well as improve and create community spaces by transforming underutilized spaces that are connected to existing parks.
This includes establishing plazas with new benches and design elements to serve as gathering places, fixing broken fences, and removing unnecessary gates that block views into parks or create a barrier between the park and community.
"For instance, if there's a park in your neighborhood and you have to walk all the way around the block because there's only one entrance, you could tell us and we'd open the entrance on the other side, opening up the park to a whole new group of people," Drurdy said.
Community members can go online and nominate a park for the program. Nearby parks include MacDonald Park, Yellowstone Park, Willow Lake Playground, Forest Park, Horace Harding Playground and Lost Battalion Playground.
So far, Parks Without Borders have received over 1,000 suggestions citywide.
Councilwoman Karen Koslowitz voiced concerns regarding "the tearing down of fences," but Drury explained that the renovations were more to fix entrances, edges and adjacent spaces of the parks.
"Safety is our primary concern, in no way would we pose any designs that wouldn't be suitable for the community," Drury said. "The feedback for where this approach won't work is just as important as where it should work."
Parks Without Borders will continue to take suggestions through the end of February at nycparks.org. They will announce the eight selections in the spring.