July 13, 2015 By Michael Florio
Travers Park is set to undergo a makeover.
On July 18, the Parks Department will unveil redesign plans at 11:30am at the park, which is located on 34th Avenue between 77th and 78th Street.
The redesign will include Rory Staunton Field, an adjacent asphalt schoolyard. Rory Staunton Field connects to the park via the 78th Street Plaza, a public pedestrian space that was formerly an underutilized street, which has been permanently closed off to vehicles since 2012.
According to Councilman Daniel Dromm, the total renovations will cost $5.5 million.
While the parks department is not revealing details until the park’s unveiling, Dromm said his hope is to see an increased amount of green space. Currently the park is majority blacktop.
“People in the neighborhood really expressed the desire for more parkland and open space,” he said.
He also hopes to see the blacktop resurfaced, and that Rory Staunton Field, the 78th Street Plaza and Travers Park are connected cohesively. The three currently do not look connected.
Dromm and other officials fundraised for the city to buy Rory Staunton Field in 2013, which cost $6 million. He was interested in buying the schoolyard since he came into office in 2010, and worked to have 78th Street closed between 34th Avenue and Northern Boulevard in 2012, to serve as an extension of the park leading to the schoolyard.
After that, he worked on raising the funds to renovate Travers Park including the 78th Street Plaza and Rory Staunton Field.
“We want it to look like one cohesive park, rather than three separate things,” Dromm said. “It currently looks like a park, a street and a playground. We want it brought all together to look like one park.”
After the design phase the project will go into the procurement phase, which includes the hiring of contractors, and takes an average of nine months, according to a Parks Department spokeswoman.
Following that the construction period can get underway, which takes an average of 12 to 18 months, she said. However, she added that those numbers are a general estimate, and not specific to this project.
Dromm said he is not sure just how long the construction period will take, but he is hopeful that it will be complete in the next couple of years.
He is suggesting to the Parks Department to do the construction in phases, so that the park does not have to close completely.
“That park is very heavily used,” he said. “Therefore I would like to see the work be completed in phases.”
Dromm, who is happy to see the park renovated for community members, will be attending the design unveiling.
“There is potential to create a really beautiful park and I look forward to that happening,” he said.