The Parks Department and the Mayor's Office of New York City have committed $3.6 million to invest in Stroud Playground, and it sounds like advocates might ask for even more money because of the (expensive) design suggestions made by residents at the meeting on December 8, 2014.
Spanning land between Washington Avenue and Classon Avenue, with access on Sterling Place and Park Place, Stroud Playground is heavily used not only by children but also by adults.
It's a family park with chess/checker boards and adult seating areas, handball and basketball courts, as well as swings and a slide for the little ones. It's tucked around the Stroud school, but is used from early morning to late, late, late into the night. It really should be called Stroud Park because it is much more than just a little playground.
The Prospect Park Alliance is designing the new park pro bono, donating services worth about $300,000. They were asked to do this in the service of park equity, it appears, by the Mayor. There are three designers working on this project including Christian Zimmerman, who designed the Lakeside skating park at Prospect Park. Zimmerman considers the current budget tight.
About a hundred people of all ages attended the meeting at Stroud school, ate sandwiches and salads, and shared their visions--and their happy memories--with the people who will be drawing up the plans.
The attendees were divided into several brainstorming teams. Each team created a list of their desires for the park, and these were shared with everyone and collected by the officials working on the project.
Our team was impressed with how much consensus there is about what's needed for this park. Improved safety, including better lighting to encourage safe night use of the park, was on everybody's list. The park is in such disrepair that children get hurt various ways. A resident told me that in September, a child tripped on uneven pavement and broke her arm in the park.
One concern I've had, and others have had, is the wall along the back of the park. Kids climb the wall, which has a 10-12 foot drop on the parking lot side. We're lucky no one has been seriously injured, and parents and neighbors are aware of this hazard, as is the parks department.
As a group we requested, among other things: more green space, composting and a community garden; more basketball courts (so residents can revive summer basketball tournaments); better spaces for adults to relax and play their own card and other games; better lighting and safety; a green fitness circuit/track and field area for teens and adults; less concrete/asphalt; a place for artistic expression; save the trees!; a covered pavilion to escape sudden rain storms; better drainage; and a more interesting, fun water feature. (Rebuilt bathrooms are a given, and are being handled separately.)
The designers are going to work immediately, and will present their proposed design at a Community Board meeting for public comment. Full implementation will take a year or so.
Residents have also created a Friends of Stroud Park organization and the City is supporting such efforts as well. The City wants all of the newly redesigned parks to have a "Friends of" organization to help support their maintenance and management.