Last month, NYC Parks officially launched Parks Without Borders — an agency-level initiative “to make parks more open, welcoming and beautiful by improving entrances, edges, and park-adjacent spaces." First announced as part of Vision 3 in Mayor de Blasio’s OneNYC, Parks Without Borders is backed by $50 Million in Mayoral funding to make transformative changes that make parks more accessible, improve neighborhoods, and create vibrant public places. Fort Greene Park has beautiful historic walls, but we think the perimeter spaces and sidewalks outside those walls should be equally beautiful — these spaces could benefit tremendously from the Parks Without Borders treatment. Now that the program is live, we’re excited to share with you how we’re working towards ensuring that Fort Greene Park receives some of the funding, and how you can help shape Fort Greene Park's future.
For some time now, we’ve been brainstorming ideas for places in the park that could best benefit from Parks Without Borders. Ever since our walking tour of the park with NYC Parks Commissioner Mitchell J. Silver, FAICP in June, we’ve been working to envision what a brighter, livelier Fort Greene Park might look like — trying to better answer the question of how a park with as many walls as ours could be better connected to the neighborhoods and people that surround it. Something that came out of our walk with the Commissioner was just how much potential lies in the open spaces on the Park’s northern perimeter. Both the plaza at Myrtle Avenue and Washington Park and the Park’s northwest corner had shown us glimpses of the kinds of vibrant public places they could be. The Myrtle Entrance Plaza has hosted our annual tree lighting for two years in a row, and has a long history as host to a number of public art exhibits. The northwest corner has long been a beloved spot for barbecues, picnics, and active recreation, and one of the Park’s busiest pedestrian thoroughfares cuts through it. We see so much potential to enhance the functions of these spaces — to take places that park users have already found uses for and figure out how we can amplify amenities to better serve those people.
The natural next step was finding a partner like Myrtle Avenue Revitalization Project with an unparalleled understanding of the needs of residents around the park and how to build community in places. MARP has done amazing work in the neighborhood, and we were excited to be able to collaborate in devising truly innovative solutions for how to build a better urban environment in Fort Greene. After months of planning, conversation, and dreaming, we’re excited to share with you some of the ideas we’ve put together. Take a look at our vision here.
What we’ve got so far is precisely that — a starting point. We need your ideas and your input to make Parks Without Borders a reality in Fort Greene. Commissioner Silver and his team want this to be a community initiative, envisioned by communities for the benefit of communities. Visit Parks’ website here to submit your ideas for what a Fort Greene Park without borders could look like. The number of suggestions a park receives will be a major criterion in the Agency’s decision-making process. Help us make sure the agency knows that we believe $5 Million can be best spent in Fort Greene Park.
If you have ideas, or want to talk more about how you can get involved in placemaking in Fort Greene Park, email the Conservancy, or message me personally at firstname.lastname@example.org. We can’t make transformational changes like this happen without the strength of our community behind us. Let’s talk about how we can build a better park.
Programming and Development Coordinator
Fort Greene Park Conservancy