Volume 74, Number 27 | November 10 - 16, 2004

Villager photo by Jennifer Bodrow

Washington Sq. Park

Washington Sq. renovation is slated to start in June

By Albert Amateau

Plans for the long-awaited reconstruction of Washington Sq. Park will be presented to the public at the end of January and the beginning of construction is planned for June, according to William Castro, Manhattan borough commissioner of Parks.

Castro, who met with the Community Board 2 Washington Sq. Park Task Force two weeks ago, reaffirmed the city’s commitment to reconstructing the park in two phases so that only half of it would be closed at any time.

“We’re very excited about the progress in the plans,” said Aubrey Lees, head of the Task Force, which met on Mon., Nov. 8, with Paola Zanzo, director of the Washington Sq. Park campaign, to discuss fundraising. More than $4 million has been committed so far from public and private sources.

Funding from private sources so far includes $1 million from New York University, about $200,000 from the Washington Sq. Park Council, $100,000 from the Village Alliance Business Improvement District and $20,000 from the Washington Sq. Association.

Public funding so far includes $1 million committed by Mayor Bloomberg, $950,000 committed by City Councilmember Alan Gerson from his 2005-’06 discretionary budget, $500,000 from Manhattan Borough President C. Virginia Fields and $495,000 from City Councilmember Margarita Lopez.

Castro was unwilling to estimate the cost of the reconstruction. “We really don’t know what it will cost because we’re still working on the design,” he said. But he said a likely estimate for a maintenance endowment fund would range between $4 million and $5 million.

Washington Sq. Park advocates have variously put the funding goal at $12 million to $16 million.

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