Major improvements coming to Prospect Park

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Prospect Park Flatbush entrance view south. (Courtesy of Prospect Park Alliance)

On a beautiful Thursday in Brooklyn, construction began on the restoration of the Flatbush Avenue perimeter of Prospect Park. The sidewalk was in terrible shape, according to Prospect Park Alliance President Sue Donoghue.

"The sidewalk was cracked. There were big trip hazards. The fence line as you can see was cut in a number of places where people were looking to gain entrance into the park," Donoghue said. "It was in desperate need of an upgrade, for sure."

The 1,500-foot sidewalk along Flatbush Avenue will be expanded into a 30-foot promenade filled with 125 trees.

This project is a partnership between the New York City's Parks Without Borders program and the Prospect Park Alliance.

New York City Parks Commissioner Mitchell Silver said a major change is coming.

"The next phase, we're going to have two new entrances on Flatbush Avenue that never, ever existed before," he said. "This is now going to be a public space and not just a sidewalk."

These will be the first new entrances to the park since the 1940s. One entrance will be created near the Rose Garden and a second entrance will be just north of the Prospect Park Zoo. New landscaping and terraced seating will let visitors enjoy a view of the woodlands. A new running trail will appeal to joggers. An assortment of boulders will decorate the area.

Additional funds have already been allotted for two more park entrances. One will be on Ocean Avenue and the other on Parkside Avenue. The money will also help restore 1,200 feet of the pathway on the northeast corner. New benches and more lighting will be installed.

"So many people we are looking to serve in Prospect Park—we a have over 10 million visits a year," Donoghue said. "We need every square inch that we can to meet the needs of this burgeoning Brooklyn population."

Construction is expected to be complete by fall 2018.