A WPA-era park in the Bronx is getting a bit of an update. Last Tuesday, the Landmarks Preservation Commission approved construction of a new entrance and pathway at the Crotona Play Center, located on the grounds of Crotona Park with the address 1700 Fulton Avenue.
The park was constructed by Robert Moses, using funding from the Works Progress Administration, between 1934 and 1936. It is perhaps most notable for its large public pool, the largest in the borough. It was designated an individual landmark in 2007. In 2014, the former diving pool to the south of the main pool was turned into a spray shower area.
Come to 2016 and the Parks Department is trying to deal with some deteriorating conditions, safety concerns, and access for the disabled. The presentation was introduced by John Krawchuk, director of historic preservation for the Parks Department. The main presentation was done by Kim Mathews of Financial District-based Mathews Nielsen Landscape Architects.
The existing, but permanently closed south gate has deteriorating coping, plus a set of stairs that creates what the presentation labeled an “undesirable hiding place” on the way to a hilly path into the park.
Those stairs will be removed and planted over, with the path removed and replaced with a new ADA-accessible one to its south, at the corner of East 172nd Street. The piers and the steps in between them will remain, though the granite pavers will be reset into a sloped position that deters unwanted loitering.
Additionally, a wall around the spray shower area will be reconstructed and a new fence installed.
The project is estimated to cost $2.1 million. Midtown-based McLaren Engineering Group is also part of the team.
“I think it’s good,” said LPC Chair Meeankshi Srinivasan. Commissioner Michael Goldblum said it was a “very modest modification,” adding that he couldn’t find anything negative to say. “Respectful [and] well-done,” said Commissioner Diana Chapin. Commissioner Kim Vauss, who learned to swim in that pool, said she “really appreciates the work.”
The proposal was approved unanimously.
View the full presentation slides here, including that “undesirable hiding place.”