Board 5 makes their own improvement plan for Forest Park after city announces new amenities

Screen Shot 2019-05-09 at 2.52.46 PM
Image via Google Maps

As the city Department of Parks prepares to revamp an entrance and pathway off of the Jackie Robinson Parkway through Forest Park, Community Board 5 approved on Wednesday night a set of recommendations to work in their own vision.

Board 5 members hope to see a wider pathway to accommodate bikes and pedestrians as well as security measures around certain lengths to ward off crime after a Parks Services Committee report detailed at the May 8 meeting.

“From the diagram we have, the light poles are 65 feet apart,” Steve Fiedler, who chairs the Board 5 Parks Services committee, said. “We’re trying to get them close to 30 feet part with sufficient light now with LEDs … It’s going to be pretty desolate.”

For the path that will run next to Forest Park Drive from Myrtle, CB5 is asking Parks to consider bollards 5 feet apart and instead of a 5-foot path, a 10-foot path.

Parks originally put a bid out for $2.3 million with companies coming in as low as $3.3 million and $3.29 million, according to Fiedler, although the agency has already allocated $2.39 million.

CB5 Chair Vincent Arcuri said that out of concerns for security, the board will pursue an expansion of a camera program launched since the first time the advisory body was briefed by the agency in 2017 on the park revamp.

“When we originally reviewed their plan, we talked about security cameras. At that point in time they said they had no program or system,” Arcuri said. “Since then through the office of Assembly member [Mike] Miller, there are security cameras spotted throughout Forest Park. So I think we should be asking for an extension of the security camera system through that pathway, but we would need funding from the elected officials.”

Parks presented their plan to CB5 for expanding bike options in and around the park in April.

A clearing currently exists at the southern end of Forest Park Drive where concrete Jersey barriers prevent cars from driving into the park, instead guiding them left onto the Jackie Robinson Parkway entrance ramp.

“This project proposes a new pedestrian entrance and pathway into the park along Forest Park Drive from Myrtle Avenue connecting with the picnic, bandshell and carousel areas,” a Parks spokeswoman told QNS in April. “The new proposed entrance to the park will be enhanced with plantings and a seating area. The new pathway will be made from both concrete and asphalt and will feature new security lighting for enhanced safety.”

With $1.89 million from City Council and $500,000 from the borough president’s office, Fiedler said they are working with Councilman Robert Holden’s office to attain more funds for the project.