After months of delays, J.J. Byrne Park is finally getting a facelift.
Tomorrow construction will get underway on the long-awaited renovations to the small park, on Fifth Avenue between Third and Fourth streets.
The plans for the park – which were first released in November 2009 – include separate play spaces for kids of different ages and a seating area with cafe tables for grown-ups. The Parks Department was originally slated to break ground in the fall of 2010.
In conjunction with the plan, the Department of Transportation is looking at potentially expanding the playstreet hours on the Fourth Street cul-de-sac inbetween the park and MS 51.
The street has been a car-free zone where kids can play for some time, and official "playstreet" signage went up in January. Currently the street is closed to traffic from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.
At a February Community Board 6 meeting, where CB6 gave the extended playstreet plan a big thumbs up, Kim Maier, executive director for the Old Stone House, said that hopes extending the hours of the playstreet will help to create more open space and expand the reach of the park.
With the extended playstreet the Fifth Avenue farmer’s market would also be able to move onto Fourth Street, said Maier.
Other plans for the park include adding concessions, a picnic grove, a waterfountain, new landscaping and revamping the play spaces in general.
All told, the construction on the current renovations is expected to last about a year and cost the Parks Department over $4 million. The project was jointly funded by Borough President Marty Markowitz and Councilmembers Brad Lander and Steven Levin, as well as their predecessors Bill deBlasio and David Yassky
In recent years, the park has already undergone significant renovations after the city struck a deal with the developer of the Novo Condominiums, on the southwest corner or the park, to help spruce it up. In 2008 restored handball courts, new basketball courts, a dog run, a garden and a skate park were added.
Both the Old Stone House and all of the park’s recreation spaces will remain open to the public, according to Maier.