downtownexpress.com
Volume 20 Issue 22 | October 12 - 18 2007

Rendering of the Parks Dept.’s design for DeLury Square Park.

Seaport to get sunken oasis

The Parks Dept. Tuesday night presented a new design that would transform the northeast corner of Fulton and Gold Sts. from a congested traffic triangle into a sunken oasis — complete with a waterfall.

In order to complete the design, the Parks Dept. must purchase a slice of land from the Southbridge Towers co-op. The project would also have to undergo a land-use review process. If everything moves forward as planned, though, the park could be completed sometime in 2009, the same time that street work in the area is set to finish up.

The city Dept. of Transportation is realigning the intersection of Fulton and Gold Sts. to make it a standard four-way crossing, eliminating both the traffic triangle and the hazardous northbound turning lane on Fulton.

Parks would then take the wider curb area at the northeast corner of the intersection and combine it with the Southbridge land to create a large square of green. Two paved paths would lead pedestrians down Fulton St. and into the Southbridge complex, while a third, gravel path would wind down into a grassy valley. Water would fall down a stream-like track into a small pool in the valley. The space would sport both metal benches and boulders that could double as additional seating.

The Community Board 1 Seaport Committee, which is chaired by a Southbridge board member, John Fratta, expressed widespread support for the plan. C.B. 1 members voiced concerns, however, that the new park might become a haven for homeless individuals and rowdy Murry Bergtraum High School students, who currently hang out at the nearby Burger King after school.

The Parks Dept. representatives said that the new DeLury Square Park would be part of a group of Lower Manhattan parks to be patrolled each evening by Parks Enforcement Patrol officers.

The PEPs, as they are often called, are paid by the Parks Dept. but under the supervision of the N.Y.P.D. and can write tickets for low-level offenses. The added PEP patrols will be funded by a new pool of Downtown park maintenance money being provided by the Lower Manhattan Development Corp. The park would also be gated and locked at night.

Committee members asked that Parks consider adding afternoon patrols to the DeLury Square area, but voted unanimously to approve the preliminary design.

“We’re going to take what is a chaotic place and turn it into a sizeable green space,” said Larry Mauro of the Parks Dept.


— Skye H. McFarlane





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