New design could save Tire Swing Park
A month after a group of Battery Park City residents complained about the upcoming demolition of Tire Swing Park, the state presented alternative designs this week that would keep much of the park intact.
The State Dept. of Transportation, which is rebuilding the park as part of the Route 9A project, planned to show the designs to a Community Board 1 working group Wednesday night. Then, next Tuesday, C.B. 1’s Battery Park City Committee will review the designs and decide whether the new plan, which preserves the wooden playground, tire swing and southern lawn, is better than the original plan, which includes additional play equipment. The state will build whichever plan the community board picks, and soon — work on the adjacent walkway and bikeway is scheduled to begin Oct. 13.
One disadvantage of the new proposal to preserve much of the park is that it would have to go back to the city’s Public Design Commission, which could delay the completion of the project, said Adam Levine, spokesperson for State D.O.T. Under the current design and schedule, the park would reopen by Memorial Day 2010, but changing the design at this late stage could jeopardize that date, Levine said.
Signe Nielsen, the project’s landscape architect, drafted the new designs released Wednesday after listening to the concerns of parents and other park users at a meeting last month. Because designing a park involves many tradeoffs — for example, preserving trees versus including a basketball court — Nielsen drafted four different versions of a new plan. All four options keep the current playground and small southern lawn intact.
The options are differentiated as follows:
• Remove 12 trees, include half basketball court, larger athletics lawn
• Remove seven trees, include half basketball court, smaller athletics lawn
• Remove six trees, no half basketball court, smaller athletics lawn
• Remove 14 trees, no half basketball court, largest athletics lawn
Preserving trees has been among the chief goals of the Coalition to Save Tire Swing Park, the group that recently formed to push the redesign, because they value the shade the mature trees provide.
Levine expected Wednesday night’s working group to decide on one of those four alternative options (or a combination of them), and for that option to be presented next Tuesday night alongside State D.O.T.’s original plan, which was already vetted by many community groups, including C.B. 1, over the past several years.
— Julie Shapiro