Grand Army Plaza will get a grand overhaul including a new roof, pavement, fencing, lighting, plants and trees.
Nearly four decades after its last restoration, the city is allocating almost $9 million in funding for a major revamp of Grand Army Plaza, including the historic Soldier and Sailors Memorial Arch and the landscaped berms that frame the plaza, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced on Friday.
“Grand Army Plaza welcomes us to Brooklyn’s most beloved park, and with this funding we can fully realize the beauty of this monument honoring those who have served,” said de Blasio.
Prospect Park Alliance, the nonprofit organization that operates the park in partnership with the city, will undertake the project.
As part of the $8.9 million project, the Alliance will replace the arch’s roof, clean and repaint the brick and stone structure, repair the interior iron staircases and replace the lighting. The project will also include replanting the landscaped berms that frame the plaza on its east and west sides, as well as adding new trees and replacing the existing chain link fence with a low steel panel fence; the broken bluestone pavement that surrounds the plaza’s John F. Kennedy Memorial and the Bailey Fountain will be replaced with granite pavement.
Grand Army Plaza was designed by park creators Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux as the grand formal entrance of Prospect Park at the time of its construction in 1867. In 1889, the plaza became the site of the Soldiers and Sailors Arch, which was dedicated in 1892 to commemorate those who fought with the Union troops during the Civil War. The arch was landmarked in 1975 when the structure was in severe disrepair, and in 1976 Columbia literally fell from her chariot.
“Grand Army Plaza is the front door of Prospect Park, a welcoming gathering spot for communities on both the east and west sides of the park. The Alliance is incredibly excited to be able to restore this public treasure to its original grandeur,” said Sue Donoghue, president of the Prospect Park Alliance. “Our team of architects and landscape architects has undertaken the restoration of many important park destinations, from the Carousel to the LeFrak Center at Lakeside, and this work is central to our mission in the park.”
In addition to the restoration of Grand Army Plaza, Prospect Park Alliance also received $1 million in funding for improvements to the former Rose Garden in the northeast corner of the park which includes the construction of two new entrances on Flatbush Avenue and restoring pathways, benches and lighting.
“Grand Army Plaza should live up to the grandeur of its rich history, as a signature destination to millions of people from Brooklyn and beyond,” said Borough President Eric Adams. “This project complements the work my administration has undertaken to advance access and equity to every side of Prospect Park, our crown jewel in the County of Kings.”