The nonprofit that cares for Prospect Park has announced plans to give the green space a refresh after a year of heavy usage prompted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Prospect Park Alliance’s new stewardship effort, Re:New Prospect Park—which entails new trash management initiatives, park improvements and expanded volunteer opportunities—comes after the park got “much more love than it can handle” this past year, the organization says.
“We know how important the park has been to our community and the role it serves in recovering from the challenges of this past year,” the Alliance’s president, Sue Donoghue, said in a statement. “Prospect Park is showing serious signs of wear and tear, and without our normal workforce, we are so grateful for our community, who over the past year has pitched in to help sustain this cherished green oasis.”
The organization is hiring four groundskeepers to supplement city Parks Department maintenance crews during the busy summer season. The Alliance is also partnering with the homeless services nonprofit ACE New York to offer additional maintenance services through October, through a grant funded by Amazon.
The Alliance said it also plans to complete physical improvements to portions of the park this summer. Those improvements include renovated restrooms at Lincoln Road and the Children’s Corner; new barbecue grills, fixtures and furnishings at the Picnic House and Bandshell areas; and new benches and landscaping at the Drummer’s Grove.
Other efforts include an enlarged “Fix-It” crew and volunteer services staff to care for lawns, benches and fencing, and an increase in large trash receptacles throughout the park along with signage encouraging visitors to carry out their garbage.
Volunteer Services staff has also been expanded to offer more opportunities for groups and individuals to get involved with keeping the park clean, including as part of “Re:New Volunteer Corps” that will work alongside Alliance staff to support park improvement projects.
Both the Alliance and the city’s Parks Department lost funding during the pandemic, which resulted in a reduced workforce and resources even as demand for greenspaces soared. Advocates across the city have pushed for increased parks funding in the upcoming city budget, which will be finalized in June.