Council Member Lander and Gowanus Community Leader Celebrate Groundbreaking at St. Mary's Park

Council Member Lander and Gowanus Community Leader Celebrate Groundbreaking at St. Mary's Park

Playground is part of a network of improvements to open spaces around the Gowanus Canal
August 15, 2017
CM Lander Contact: Whit Hu 718.499.1090,
Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn


Today City Council Member Brad Lander, NYC Parks Brooklyn Borough Commissioner Martin Maher, community leaders, participants in the Gowanus Neighborhood Planning Study, and neighbors joined together to celebrate the groundbreaking at St. Mary’s Park in Carroll Gardens, near the Gowanus Canal.

The $2.7 million renovation will restore two adjacent playgrounds on Smith Street, between Huntington and Luquer Streets, under the Culver El (F/G) subway tracks. The southern half of the park will include new ADA accessible play equipment for toddlers, young children, and older children, water-play spray showers, tables and chairs, and planting beds. The northern site will feature a skating area, multi-use synthetic turf field, adult fitness equipment, basketball courts, and a walking track.

St. Mary’s Park was closed and demolished in 2009, as part of the MTA’s rehabilitation of the Culver Viaduct on the F/G line. At the time, they pledged to fund the reconstruction, but only provided $850,000, less than one-third of what was needed. Council Member Lander teamed up with the Brooklyn Borough President to secure an additional $1.85 million in City funds. Community residents, organized by Paige Bellenbaum and other neighborhood leaders, worked with the Parks Department to design the park (southern half here, northern half here).

“St. Mary’s Park will be a great new place for neighbors to gather and kids to play. It’s an important part of our broader community planning work to improve the parks and open spaces around the Gowanus Canal, to make sure that Gowanus is a vibrant, sustainable, mixed-use neighborhood for decades to come” said Council Member Brad Lander. “Thanks to the Parks Department and the Borough President for their work and assistance in this project.”

The reconstruction comes as Gowanus community members work together to plan for a sustainable future. After more than a century of contamination, the Canal and the land around it has the potential to become a community grounded in principles of sustainability, as the Superfund cleanup of the Canal moves forward toward reality. Earlier this summer, the community celebrated the launch of the Gowanus Green Team, a green jobs program for young people from the Gowanus area.

Neighbors have come together in recent years through the Bridging Gowanus community planning process, and are now working together with the Department of City Planning on the Gowanus Neighborhood Planning Study. Central to those efforts is a commitment to a renewed network of parks, open space, and waterfront access. In addition to St. Mary’s Park, Council Member Lander has secured funding for the renovation of Ennis Playground (between 2nd and 3rd Avenue, between 11th and 12th Streets, on the east side of the canal). And earlier this summer, the Gowanus Canal Conservancy released a framework plan for the “Gowanus Lowlands,” a visionary network of green space around the canal.

"We're excited to celebrate the groundbreaking of the new Saint Mary's Park, which will enliven Smith St and provide much needed park space for Gowanus and Carroll Gardens neighbors. This investment by Councilmember Lander and the Parks Department is a critical step towards building the Gowanus Lowlands network of parks, open spaces, and greened corridors framing a clean Gowanus Canal,” said Andrea Parker, Executive Director of the Gowanus Canal Conservancy.

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