West Thames Park work is a go


The W. Thames Park will close for seven months starting in October so the state Dept. of Transportation can rebuild it. The adjacent dog run is also being rebuilt this fall, but it will not close.

When it reopens in May, the park and playground along West St. will include a playground, an open lawn, basketball courts and a community garden, with a dog run one block south.

The park, between W. Thames and Albany Sts., will close on Oct. 13, just after Columbus Day, so work can begin, said Lisa Weiss, urban design director for state D.O.T. The work is part of the state’s overall Route 9A project.

Community Board 1’s Battery Park City Committee has supported the designs in the past and had few concerns when Weiss presented the latest plans Tuesday night.

The first piece of the project to begin construction will be the dog run just south of W. Thames St., where work will start after Labor Day and finish by the end of November. Residents were pleased to hear Tuesday that the dog run would not close during the construction. Workers will do one half of the run at a time.

“It might have a little bit of an odd shape, but it will remain open,” Weiss said.

During the construction, an 8-foot fence will keep dogs from entering the work zone, and the contractor will use water to keep dust to a minimum.

The new 6,000-square-foot dog run will include separate sections for small and large dogs.

The new bridge the Battery Park City Authority recently proposed for W. Thames St. would land alongside the rebuilt dog run, but state D.O.T. is proceeding with plans to plant trees in that area anyway. If the authority receives the many approvals it needs to build the bridge, the authority will replace the trees with a shade arbor on the side of the bridge’s ramp.

Just to the north, the construction of the new lawn and playground will require the removal of some trees this fall, including ones that are about 20 years old. Jeff Mihok, a C.B. 1 board member, objected to losing the trees, particularly because young trees will provide much less shade.

“It’s going to be really hot for the park’s first five to eight years of existence,” Mihok said.

Weiss said the new park required a shift in elevation that made it impossible to keep the trees.

Because of the construction, the community garden in W. Thames park will have to move twice: once this fall, to a temporary location, and once in the spring, to its final home near Albany St. Garden volunteers will work with the B.P.C. Parks Conservancy to do the transplants, Weiss said.

The hours for all of the construction will be Monday to Friday from 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., though contractors may work weekends if they fall behind schedule.

— Julie Shapiro