In May 2016, the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership released a Community Vision Plan for nearly 50 acres of parks, plazas and walkways that reflected two years of community workshops and planning. Developed by WXY Architecture + Urban Design with input from residents, community groups, elected officials and City agencies, the plan set forth a set of recommendations for major changes to the disconnected green spaces that exist between Borough Hall and the Brooklyn waterfront. The City will review the recommendations and determine which of these recommendations can and will be implemented, which will largely depend on as yet unidentified sources of funding.
Among the plan’s specific recommendations are to create a “Gateway to Brooklyn” from the Brooklyn Bridge and a market under the bridge at the Anchorage Plaza in Dumbo, reopen the Brooklyn War Memorial in Cadman Park for public use, and realign portions of the ramps to the BQE to improve the connections between currently isolated parcels of open space.
The Brooklyn Strand Project was conceived to link and improve disconnected parks, plazas and green spaces from the Borough Hall area and Downtown Brooklyn to Brooklyn Bridge Park. If fully implemented, it would reclaim open space ignored by the Parks Department or made inaccessible by the BQE in order to create a world-class promenade providing pedestrian access to the waterfront from Downtown Brooklyn’s transit hubs.
The Brooklyn Strand would consist of two sets of spaces: 1) the 27.9-acre Cadman Connector, which would incorporate Borough Hall Park, the Korean War Veterans Plaza, Whitman Park, Cadman Plaza Park, the Anchorage Plaza, and Old Fulton Plaza; and 2) the 12.9-acre BQE Connector, which would tie together the open spaces under and along the BQE from the Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges to Commodore Barry Park adjacent to the Brooklyn Navy Yard.
The Downtown Brooklyn Partnership and a design team led by WXY Studio sponsored 250 workshops and meetings in 2015 to elicit ideas from stakeholders within the affected communities, including the BHA. (See “Learn More” for the workshop recommendations.) Though it is unlikely that the final plan can be fully implemented at once, the Partnership anticipates that segments can be completed as funding becomes eligible.
In July 2015, Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams allocated $1 Million towards the estimated $11.8 Million expense of transforming the Brooklyn War Memorial in Cadman Park, closed to the public more than 25 years ago, into a visitor’s center with a rooftop café, events space, and a veteran’s wall of honor. The result will be an improved Cadman Park. Another $500,000 will fund improvements to Borough Hall Park.
For a comprehensive view of the possibilities for the Brooklyn Strand initiative, see the Brooklyn Strand Urban Design Action Plan featuring recommendations by community groups, including the BHA.
For more on the Brooklyn Strand initiative: Downtownbrooklyn.com