It’s been a little bit over two years since Mayor de Blasio announced a $30-million makeover for Brownsville’s Betsy Head Park. Now, just in time for its centennial anniversary, new renderings reveal the massive transformation the park will undergo, which were designed with the input and priorities of the Brownsville community in mind, said Abel Bainnson Butz Landscape Architects, the design company in charge of the project.
The project will be constructed in two phases. The first phase, which is now underway, is focused on the redevelopment of the park’s northern section and includes the transformation of a large, underutilized asphalt lot into a multi-purpose area.
Site-wide improvements include sweeping pathways with trees and added greenery which connect the new park to the Imagination Playground to the south. A multi-purpose event space with amphitheater-style seating will provide space for a range of small-scale community events such as farmers’ markets, outdoor performances and movie screenings, or activities like tai chi and yoga.
The new park design also includes a parkour fitness course for teens and an inclusionary self-competitive basketball course for those with physical and mental disabilities, both of which will be the first ever constructed in New York City. A plaza-style skate park will offer exciting alternatives for older children who have outgrown the traditional play equipment provided in the Imagination Playground, the architecture firm said.
The second phase of the project will reconstruct the track, field and courts in the park’s southern parcel, and include the conversion from natural grass to synthetic turf ballfields, striped for football, soccer, softball and men’s and women’s lacrosse. Phase two will also bring new sports field lighting, adult fitness stations, game tables, a traverse wall, handball and basketball courts. Additionally, Betsy Head Park will receive new entrances, while existing park entries will be reconstructed to allow for wheelchair access.
“The redesign will provide transformative change to the park and increase active and passive recreational programming, provide shade and greenspaces and significant upgrades to utility infrastructure, “ABB said in a statement. “The intent is to create an exciting and innovative design that will be embraced by the community and enjoyed by both current and future generations.”
Phase one, with the focus on Betsy Head Park’s northern section, is expected to be completed in the winter of 2020; a timeline for the second phase has yet to be finalized.