BY GABE HERMAN | Chelsea has opened its first new community park in 40 years, welcoming Chelsea Green on W. 20th St. between Sixth and Seventh Aves.
At the July 25 ribbon-cutting, Council Speaker Corey Johnson, who represents the West Side district, said, “We need parks. Many New Yorkers aren’t able to afford to leave the city on weekends, and so parks are their place for respite. It’s their urban oasis.”
Johnson noted that Chelsea’s local Community Board 4 ranks 58th out of the city’s 59 boards in amount of public open space.
“In a time with so much turmoil and pain in our country,” Johnson said, “and a time where you want to look away from the television every single day. We need moments to feel good. And this is a moment to feel good.”
Chelsea Green is a one-quarter-acre park. It includes an area with playground equipment, a play turf area, shaded seating, trees and plantings and a space for public art displays and performances.
Matt Weiss and Sally Greenspan of Friends of Chelsea Green, thanked the Parks Department and local officials, especially Speaker Johnson, in a statement.
“We also want to acknowledge the thousands of Downtown residents who have passionately supported this effort for nearly a decade,” they added. “This park is a testament to the power of grassroots activism and a can-do New York spirit.”
The park cost $5.8 million and included funding from Mayor Bill de Blasio, then-Council Member Johnson and a private donor. The park was a popular ballot item in Chelsea’s 2015 Participatory Budgeting process, which allocates city funding to local projects that receive the most votes from the community. The park received $200,000 from that voting process.
“C.B. 4 is thrilled by the opening of Chelsea Green,” said Lowell Kern, the board’s first vice chairperson and co-chairperson of its Waterfront, Parks and Environment Committee. “We are happy that we were able to help the community realize their vision for this site. C.B. 4 recognizes the power of community organizing and celebrates the opening of a park that was the highest vote-getter in Speaker Corey Johnson’s first edition of participatory budgeting.”
The site of Chelsea Green used to be a Department of Sanitation facility. It was torn down by the Department of Design and Construction to make way for the park.