The design for a Reading Garden at the Bellerose Playground was unveiled at the monthly Community Board 13Q Parks Committee meeting (via Zoom) on June 9, 2020. NYC Parks Dept. landscape architect James Mituzas and Parks designer Amber Betances reviewed the plans in their PowerPoint presentation. The goal for this state-funded $250,000 project on 0.062 acre site on the 249 St. side of the playground was to create a “destination point”.
Several trees will be removed and six trees were to be added. The high fences on the 249 St. and comfort station sides will be replaced with 4 ft. high steel fences with gates. Five games tables with benches will be installed as well as seven 4 ft. and five 8 ft. long benches. Although the plans were “pretty much” the final draft, Parks did entertain suggestions from our BCCA President and others, including eliminating one proposed tree to provide more open space for activities in the middle of the southern portion of the site.
Mr. Mituzas was asked to provide the PowerPoint presentation to the BCCA so Board members could review it. BCCA held a special Board meeting (via Zoom) on June 11th, reviewed the plans, and made additional suggestions which were passed on to Parks. Parks indicated that the plans will have to be submitted to the NYC Public Design Commission for approval, and it would take four months to complete the design stage. Another 10 months will be required for procurement, legal, contract preparation, bidding and selection of a contractor. Contractors are typically given one year to complete the project. It has taken many years to get this far on this small community project. But there appears to be light at the end of a very long tunnel.