For Immediate Release
October 9th, 2018
Completion of a New Entrance at West 261st Street and the VCP Master Plan 2034
The Friends of Van Cortlandt Park (FVCP) is pleased to announce the completion of a new entrance into Van Cortlandt Park at West 261st Street and Broadway. FVCP is indebted to Councilman Andrew Cohen for assisting with funding and many staff at the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation (NYC Parks), particularly Commissioner Iris Rodriguez-Rosa, who oversaw the planning and implementation.
The new entrance shows that transformative improvements to the park do not need to be elaborate or expensive. There is an exceptional new Greeter Garden with seating; a path from the street; and (at the back of the lawn) a new trail leading into the park’s extensive system of hiking and jogging trails. FVCP is helping to maintain the area through mulching, weeding, watering, lawn care (through a private landscape company) and trail maintenance. Volunteers are welcome! NYC Park’s Natural Resources Group is also about to undertake an exceptional restoration of the forest flanking the lawn with invasive plant removal and native plantings. FVCP will remain committed to helping to maintain the area with private fundraising, staff time and volunteer hours. The work at West 261st Street complements other improvement projects FVCP is undertaking with private donations—the restoration and maintenance of the “Grand Central Stones” on the Putnam Trail and the creation of a historic landscape plan for the Van Cortlandt House Museum with improvements already taking place on the grounds.
West 261st Street is the smallest of several important capital projects underway in Van Cortlandt Park that are outlined in the Van Cortlandt Park Master Plan 2034—a comprehensive plan to upgrade the Park published in 2014. Projects nearing the “construction phase” include a new playground at Mosholu Avenue, grand new entrance at West 242nd Street, installation of a new spray shower at the Woodlawn Playground and creation of the Putnam Greenway which will connect the Park to Westchester County. Other important projects remain in planning or fundraising phases. They include the replacement of the Birding bridge on the John Kieran Trail; “daylighting” of Tibbetts Brook and wetlands restoration; a pedestrian bridge across the Major Deegan Expressway; and negotiations with CSX Railway to extend the daylighting of Tibbetts Brook south of the Park to the Harlem River. FVCP remains committed to supporting NYC Parks in completing planning and capital fundraising for each of these other projects.