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Saturday, November 22, 2014

Vannie Master Plan starts to see green

By Maya Rajamani
Posted
Image courtesy of charles McKinney
A projected aerial view of Van Cortlandt Park after the Master Plan is implemented.

Correction appended.

A sweeping new vision for Van Cortlandt Park its on its way to becoming a reality. 

On July 15, the Department of Parks and Recreation released the final draft of its Van Cortlandt Park Master Plan, which includes 200 projects aimed at improving the city’s third largest park. the undertakings range from water fountains to pedestrian bridges. 

“It’s been a really good and productive process working with this community,” said Charles McKinney, the Parks Department’s principal urban designer, who unveiled his first draft of the Master Plan at a Community Board (CB) 8 Parks and Recreation Committee meeting in October. “There’s quite a lot of wisdom and experience which we’ve been able to incorporate into the plan.” 

New to the final version are cost estimates for each of the projects, which range from $6,000 for projects like planting trees in and outside the pipe rail border at Memorial Grove, to $8,640,000 for a bridge over the Saw Mill River Parkway. 

Several projects, including the Putnam Railroad Greenway and improvements to and expansion of the dog run in the Northeast Forest, have already received funding. 

Meanwhile, Councilman Andrew Cohen recently allocated $1.2 million for a new playground facility on the northwest side of the park. A new playground on the Woodlawn side is also set to receive funding. 

In total, the 200 projects will cost an estimated $160 million. 

Mr. McKinney said each of the projects will go through the Parks Department’s capital projects division; generally, he said, capital projects take approximately two and a half years to complete. 

“We’re very pleased with the council person’s response to the Master Plan,” Mr. McKinney said of Mr. Cohen.

Along with including cost estimates for  anticipated projects throughout Vannie, the finalized plan, which was approved by Community Boards 7 and 8, took into account concerns from both bodies. 

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