Luther Gulick Playground is at Least Another 2 Years from Rehabilitation
Anyone waiting for a speedy reconstruction of Luther Gulick Playground on Delancey Street will need to wait longer. Much longer.
While the larger project languishes – the undertaking is a decade in the offing – one component of the multimillion-dollar makeover is currently underway. The brand new comfort station (aka public toilets). Groundbreak was more than a year ago, and the structure is finally taking shape above ground. (The bathhouse is under the purview of the Department of Buildings.)
Many in the neighborhood refer to the green space as the “most unattractive” park in the city. With good reason. The park remains largely overgrown and at the mercy of mother nature. Friends of Gulick Playground aims to change that stigma, though. Founded in 2009 with the goal of beautification, the grassroots group has been, over the years, pushing and coordinating with the city to secure funding and help keep the project on track.
However, the $7 million reconstruction hit another roadblock back in the spring, when the lowest bidding contractor dropped out. The city is now reportedly moving forward with the “next lowest bidder,” and assures the community that construction is to begin in the fall. Just keep in mind that timeline overruns are par for the course on these types of projects. (Parks website notes “Working with external agencies, Parks is now reviewing the bid and the vendor’s qualifications.)
But, if all goes according to plan, the job itself should take about two years to complete. Expect to see updated elements like new basketball, table tennis, and fitness areas, a fully reconstructed playground, picnic area, and a fitness space with outdoor exercise equipment for adults.
Capital funding for the effort comes from a variety of city agencies. Of the $9 million sum raised (in 2014), the $7 million collected from the Manhattan Borough President, state Department of Transportation, City Council, Senator Daniel Squadron, and then-Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver goes toward restoration of the park. Mayor de Blasio had also allocated an additional $2 million for new bathrooms in the park.