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St. Catherine’s Park Renovation Plans Presented

Christopher Crowley, a landscape architect for the Parks Department, met virtually with Community Board 8’s Parks and Waterfront Committee on Thursday to present plans to renovate St. Catherine’s Park on First Avenue between 67th and 68th streets.

Crowley and his team are working with a total budget of $9 million, with $4,850,000 coming from the mayor’s office, $590,000 from City Council District 8, and the remaining $3,600,000 coming from private donors including the New York Blood Center.

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The project – which Crowley said will likely begin in the summer of 2025 (if not later) and will take one year to complete – aims to introduce new play and fitness equipment with increased accessibility and to redo the multi-use area to introduce pickleball, all while maintaining the “existing seating, planting, circulation and historic references.”

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They’ll be reconstructing the interior and exterior walls while adjusting the perimeter fencing; adding more swings; resurfacing court surfaces, including the basketball courts which will also get new hoops and backstops; adding an ADA-compliant bottle filler and drinking fountains; reconstructing water play areas and more.

NYC Parks via Community Board 8

st catherine's park schematic

NYC Parks via Community Board 8

“The fence is going to be lowered to four feet and we’re going to attempt to make it the same height all around so it doesn’t jog up and down,” said Crowley.

NYC Parks via Community Board 8

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“The age 5-12 play unit will look like this,” Crowley stated, referencing the rendering shown below. “It needs a little more color; as I drive by it seems a little dark.”

NYC Parks via Community Board 8

“And this is the smaller play unit,” said Crowley.

NYC Parks via Community Board 8

“The safety surface will be black and grey; we’ll be putting mostly grey with a black square in it to fit in with the pattern of the asphalt block.”

NYC Parks via Community Board 8

“We’re going to keep the two elephants [in the spray area] but they’re not going to be in the same location…in the center area we’ll have this vertical spray element which can spin…we’re also going to have ground sprays and of course the activator for all the sprays…We’ll also put putting additional benches in here.”

NYC Parks via Community Board 8

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“The exercise equipment will be regular exercise equipment, it’s no longer going to be this little play unit kind of exercise area. So it’s going to have these two pieces that have lots on it: chin up bars, sit up bars, pull up bars.”

NYC Parks via Community Board 8

One person in attendance asked if there’s any way locals could “use half of the park, or [if it’s] going to be out of commission for the public during the entire project?” While the response was not completely concrete, Chris said they could “possibly phase it,” but doing so would increase the overall cost and make the project take longer.

For updates on the renovation of St. Catherine’s Park, bookmark NYC Parks’ capital project tracker. To view the full presentation, click here.


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