The Chelsea Waterside Park is undergoing a major renovation.
Chelsea Waterside Park is a part of Hudson River Park, but the two are separated by the West Side Highway. A path leading from Chelsea Waterside Park to Hudson River Park has long made Chelsea Waterside feel more like a pass through than a park where people can hangout and relax, said Zazel Loven, chair of the Chelsea Waterside Park Association.
Meandering pathways with trees and native plant gardens will be added to the park, the dog run will be renovated, there will be a new, designated picnic area, the soccer field will be resurfaced and a new public restroom will be added to the main park area.
“I hope that the renovations will make everyone in the neighborhood feel comfortable to use the park in ways that are best for them whether it’s having a picnic, playing sports or bringing their children to the playground,” Loven said. Adding, “It’s a park for all people. It’s my belief that everyone should feel welcome in the park.”
Landscape architects and designers have worked closely with the Chelsea Waterside Park Association and the Chelsea community to be sure to make renovations that will benefit the park goers.
“The Chelsea Waterside Park Association, Community Board 4, Hudson River Park Friends, City Council Speaker Corey Johnson and the elected officials who serve this area have been strong and consistent advocates for high-quality open space that both welcomes and serves the community,” said Noreen Doyle, president and CEO of the Hudson River Park Trust, in a statement. “Nothing brings us greater joy than making people’s visions for open space come to life.”
The dog run will be enlarged and modernized to accommodate more dogs and have areas separating large and small dogs.
The designated picnic area will be a place for people to come together, to eat lunch or celebrate birthday parties, Loven said.
“We want everyone in the neighborhood to feel that they have a place in the park, so we have a beautiful, designated picnic area with tables and lighting,” Loven said.
A new playground was recently installed, so that will remain the same, but a place for people to put their strollers will be added.
But the biggest renovation is the addition of the comfort station, or public bathroom, that will be located in the main area of the park.
“And that will add a whole element of people staying to use the park,” Loven said.
For nearly 20 years the comfort station has been on the agenda of the Chelsea Waterside Park Association, Loven said.
She said she hopes the renovations make the park a place to stop instead of being used as a pass through to Hudson River Park.
“We want it to be a place where people can relax and enjoy nature,” Loven said.
On October 8 a perimeter fence went up around The Chelsea Waterside Park, and construction began last week.
The renovations will happen in three overlapping phases. The central area and overlook will undergo renovation first to include the comfort station. The area will be under renovation from October 2021 through winter 2022. The area will be closed for the duration of the project. Renovations will begin on the dog run early 2022 and the area is expected to be closed until summer 2022. The athletic field will be temporarily closed from summer 2022 until fall 2022.
The playground will remain open throughout the renovation period. A new temporary entrance to the playground has been created on 11th Ave.
The central pathway at 23rd Street will be closed, but guests can access the dog run from 11th Ave. at 22nd Street. The athletic field and basketball court can be accessed from 24th Street.
For composters, bins will remain outside the park to the north of the closed walkway.
The renovations are expected to be complete by fall 2022.
“In a city short on green space, we can’t wait to welcome our partners and park-goers to the new Chelsea Waterside Park next year, from the expanded dog run and athletic field to the new picnic areas, comfort station and park pathways,” Doyle said in a statement.