A plan to renovate Clement Clarke Moore Park has met with mixed reviews. After the city’s Department of Parks & Recreation presented its plan to Community Board 4 earlier this year, members of CB4’s Waterfront, Parks and Environment Committee wrote department’s Manhattan Borough commissioner, William Castro, saying that while they were “pleased” with plans for the 22nd Street park, they also requested some modifications, including that an existing, tall wrought iron fence be kept. The committee said the fence provided an extra layer of security, as well as helped safeguarded items left behind by park goers.
The committee also expressed concern about an anticipated renovation timeline — estimated at about a year.
“Given the paucity of parks in the Chelsea neighborhood, we ask that the timeline for the renovation be condensed, and that an effort be made to keep part of the park open while the other part is undergoing renovations,” the letter said.
It also requested an additional play surface between planned small and larger play areas, another water feature, more picnic tables and seating, as well the addition of WiFi technology. It also asked that no murals be placed on the east wall or the south fence. The committee also wants a plan for storm water retention.
A Parks spokeswoman said the department is “working on some revisions” to the project.
As presented to the community board, the department’s redesign consisting of two new play units: one for children 2-5 years of age and the other for children up to 12 years old. In addition to the play units, new swings were to be installed. The fence surrounding the park was to be shortened to 4 feet.
Park goers said Clement Clarke Moore Park were looking forward to the upgrade. Melina Salifoska, a babysitter who frequently brings her charges to the park, said safety was an issue because of antiquated equipment. “The cracks should be closed up, play-mats should be placed, the sprinkler area should be refurbished, and the rusty swings need to be fixed,” she said.
Karen Cope, recently visiting Clement Clarke Moore with her grandson, also looked forward to a renovation. Her concern was more so for the variety of age groups that interact at the park. When the younger and older kids are integrated together, she describes the scene as “wild” and “dangerous.”
With renovations expected to take up to a year, park goers will be looking for alternatives.
“As long as the park is nicer and safer for children, I don’t mind switching parks for a while,” Cope said.