Jul 30, 2014
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Locals Agree: Columbia Street Park Should Include 'Adult' Elements

At a "visioning" meeting, proposed park ideas

Locals Agree: Columbia Street Park Should Include 'Adult' Elements Locals Agree: Columbia Street Park Should Include 'Adult' Elements Locals Agree: Columbia Street Park Should Include 'Adult' Elements Locals Agree: Columbia Street Park Should Include 'Adult' Elements

Columbia Street waterfront neighbors ate pizza donated by and sat around discussion tables at the Union Street Star Theatre last night, proposing ideas and literally drawing plans for the proposed .

Almost every group agreed: let's make this park for "adults," too.

The nearly 80 people in attendance said elements for adults were important. Rather than the standard kid-oriented park features like swing sets and playgrounds, neighbors here would like to see sitting and adult recreation areas.

One local mom of three said Brooklyn Bridge Park near Atlantic Avenue felt like it was built primarily for kids.

There was no shortage of ideas coming from the nine discussion groups.

Other popular proposals:

- Create topographic complexity, build a hill into the park to enhance views

- Include a small dog run in the park's design

- Make it historic, perhaps use reclaimed materials like old containers as a Cafe or restroom facility

- Plant trees and other grasses and vegetation

- Install recreation areas for petanque or bocce, or chess tables

- Include picnic tables and benches

- Instead of concessions in the park, encourage the support of local businesses on Columbia Street

- Include water elements; a pond or a fountain

- Make the park a destination for locals, not tourists

The workshop's organizers, the  Regional Plan Association and the , were thrilled at the turn-out and range of ideas presented, but reminded the group that getting the process going will require motivation and momentum.

"It's not easy doing these things, the money's not out there," said Greenway co-founder Milton Puryear. "All of us need to get together to make sure we get the resources."

But Brooklyn Parks Department Chief of Staff Marty Maher said the level of participation was impressive.

"This turnout is great," he said. "It all starts with ideas and a vision."

"Anytime you can get green space in Brooklyn it's a good thing," he added.

Within the next month, the organizers will go over the suggestions and draft a park plan, which will then be presented to the community for review.

Rob Pirani of Regional Plan closed the meeting by summarizing the groups ideas.

"A neighborhood oriented facility is key to all the groups," he said.

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