Work begins on 2 park projects

Construction on a public bathroom in Washington Market Park began earlier this week. The bathroom, in the northwest corner of the park, generated controversy when the location was proposed in 2007.

Residents must now enter the park at the Reade St. entrance, which opened July 13. The Duane St. entrance was closed to allow construction crews access to the building site. The construction will be completed by July 2010, said Cristina DeLuca, a Parks Dept. spokesperson.

The bathroom will have two stalls each for both men and women and will be located next to the stairs to the Borough of Manhattan Community College. The community gardens, which will remain closed for the duration of the construction, will be completely rebuilt and will feature updated watering systems and better-organized gardens. Plant life that will be affected by the construction will be completely replaced, and one tree on the construction site is being transplanted to an Uptown park.

Pam Frederick, president of the Friends of Washington Market Park, said she hopes to get more garden plots out of the new construction.

Construction will not affect access to the playgrounds and other areas of the park.

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Construction also started this week on DeLury Square Park. The work will take approximately nine months to complete, the Parks Dept. said.

DeLury Square, located at the corner of Fulton and Gold Sts., will eliminate the traffic triangle at the intersection and will also add landscaping to the property adjacent to Southbridge Towers. Construction will expand the corner plaza into the existing roadway, turning the intersection into a standard four-way crossing.

The redesigned property will create a large square of landscaped space and feature two pedestrian paths that lead from Fulton St. into Southbridge. The park will include new plants, benches and a “boulder waterfall” whose stream will course through the property, DeLuca said.

The city is doing the work with grant money from the Lower Manhattan Development Corp.

— Jared T. Miller