Van Cortlandt Park Master Plan

The following has been taken from the NYC Department of Parks and Recreation’s website-

The Need for the Master Plan

Van Cortlandt Park Lake

When Frederick Law Olmsted was mapping the streets of the Bronx in 1876, he proposed that New York City buy the Van Cortlandt family estate. He reported that, without doing any work, the property was as beautiful as Central Park. New York City purchased the land and developed a third of it as a golf course, but made no comprehensive plan for the park. From the 1930s to the 1950s, the construction of three major highways fragmented the park and restricted access of visitors to the park’s rolling hills, forests, fields and wetlands.

Nearly 80 years later, it is finally time for a comprehensive Van Cortlandt Park Master Plan that will guide the restoration of the park’s natural beauty and provide solutions for the needs of all neighboring communities. The Master Plan charts clear courses of action to restore and improve this unique property identified nearly 140 years ago by Olmsted. The Master Plan is intended to coordinate efforts over the next twenty years between agencies, nonprofit partners, elected officials and community groups to complete capital projects in Van Cortlandt Park.

Creating the Master Plan

NYC Parks Planning & Parklands and Van Cortlandt Park Administrator’s office spent a year and a half soliciting community concerns and wishes, conducting research and site visits. Our planning  team closely inspected the physical layout of the park, the location and proximity of recreational spaces to neighboring communities and the priority sites identified in more than 25 public meetings. We are happy to present a plan that we believe reflects community priorities, develops solutions to Van Cortlandt Park’s environmental and social challenges, and makes the best use of the park’s many assets.

How You Can Contribute

NYC Parks has made it a priority to engage members of the community at all stages of the planning process. This spring, we will be holding a number of public meetings to review the plans. For those unable to attend these meetings in person, we have uploaded the full Van Cortlandt Park Master Plan for your review. Please send any feedback to

All feedback should be submitted by Friday, May 2.


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