By Maria Rocha-Buschel
City Council Speaker Corey Johnson joined State Senator Brad Hoylman along with other local elected officials, community board members, park advocates and neighborhood residents for the ribbon cutting on a new park on West 20th Street at the end of July.
The quarter-acre park between Sixth and Seventh Avenues was built after the former Sanitation facility on the lot was demolished by the Department of Design and Construction.
Local elected officials and community residents had been working to open the park for almost 10 years, since the space became available after the city was no longer using the Sanitation Garage on the lot.
The $5.8-million park was funded by Mayor Bill de Blasio, along with a private donor and through Participatory Budgeting in 2015 from Johnson’s office.
“For decades, East Chelsea has been a ‘parks desert,’ requiring residents to walk a long distance to access green space or a playground,” Johnson said. “Now, after years of organizing and advocacy by Chelsea residents, we finally have a new public park and playground for the community. This is the first new public park in East Chelsea in 40 years, and I am so proud to have worked with my neighbors to make this happen, from Participatory Budgeting in 2015 all the way up to today.”
The new park features an area with play structures, a passive play turf area, plantings and trees, shaded seating and space for rotating public art displays and performances. The opening of the park featured a performance from members of the Lesbian & Gay Big Apple Corps.
“Today at the new Chelsea Green, we reversed the Joni Mitchell song by putting up paradise in place of a parking lot,” State Senator Brad Hoylman said. “Congratulations to Speaker Corey Johnson, Matt Weiss, Sally Greenspan, and all the local activists in Chelsea, including Community Board 4, for making this new park a reality. I’m extremely grateful to Commissioner Silver, too, for bringing this new park to life.”