It’s a drastic park renovation.
Southern Brooklyn residents were stunned at a recent civic meeting by an estimated $11 million price tag to renovate Marine Park.
The Kings County Parks Commissioner informed locals of the extravagant cost at a gathering in the park’s Carmine Carro Community Center on April 16.
“It’s a huge amount of money,” said Marty Maher. “We agree that the park definitely needs to be redone, and we’ve been working together with elected officials, but it’s a very, very large sum.”
Locals have complained that the park has become decrepit, as cement pathways have begun to crack and rainwater swamps the low-lying parkland.
“There is no band-aid solution,” said Maher. “We need to redo the drainage infrastructure, which has not been redone in decades. We also need to look at redoing the pavement, and the lighting, and the landscaping around the park.”
The steep price, which Maher claimed was based on bids solicited by the Parks Department, was due to the outdated infrastructure in the park.
“It’s extraordinarily expensive to construct anything in New York City, but when you have to do things with outdated industrial systems, that adds to the cost,” he said. “This is mostly built on a landfill in the 1930s, so if you just say that you’re going to pour six inches of topsoil, you’re not correcting the drainage problem.”
The renovation cost would be almost 30 percent of the Parks Department’s total of $37,272,000 allocated to “maintenance, security and repair of all parks properties, vehicles and facilities in Brooklyn, including municipal parkland,” according to a City Council budget analysis.
Maher said the department was planning to work on the park in separate stages to spread the cost over several years.
“When we do a big project like Marine Park, we break it into phases,” he said. “We’re not going to do it all at once, because it’s not fair to expect our borough president, our Council member, our Assembly member, to come up with all that money, because that’s a very large chunk of change.”
Even with the advanced planning, residents should not expect the park to be completely remodeled.
“For example, the restroom at the end of Avenue U, I don’t see that being done in the near future,” said Maher. “A fully developed bathroom is very, very, very, very expensive. You could buy the house across the street and use that bathroom, it would probably be less expensive. So, I don’t see that happening.”
Marine Park, which is the largest of Brooklyn’s 877 park sites, boasts 530 acres of greenery, a golf course, multiple playgrounds, and several miles of bike paths. The shabby state of the park, and the challenging road toward fixing its problems, is a particular sticking point for residents of the surrounding communities, who made clear to Maher their displeasure at the Tuesday night meeting.
“It might not be what you want to hear, but I’ll always tell you the truth,” said Maher.