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Central Park Conservancy's proposal for the Reconstruction of the Cherry Hill Concourse in Central Park

WHEREAS, Central Park Conservancy has issued a Project Advisory for Preliminary and Final Review which presents their proposed plans for the Reconstruction of the Cherry Hill Concourse, located on 72nd Street, between Bethesda Terrace and West Drive, in Central Park; and

WHEREAS, Central Park Conservancy has provided a thoroughly detailed presentation of their proposed project to Community Board Five's Parks and Landmarks Committees; and

WHEREAS, In addition to the need to replace aging pavement, infrastructure and site furnishing, the proposed reconstruction aims to create a more pedestrian-oriented space and inviting destination, while evoking the historic character of the concourse and its connection to the landscape; and

WHEREAS, Cherry Hill Concourse was first constructed in 1859, in accordance with the designs of Olmsted and Vaux, initially serving as a horse-drawn carriage concourse, this was paved in compacted screened gravel on top of a rubble stone foundation; and

WHEREAS, A fountain for watering horses had been installed in 1871 and, shortly thereafter, a narrow landscape margin had been added in a section between the concourse and the pedestrian path, in which trees and shrubs were planted; and

WHEREAS, By 1934 the concourse had been paved with asphalt for usage as an automobile parking lot, and as a means of protection from vehicles, a raised platform was added around the fountain; and

WHEREAS, The current conditions of the Cherry Hill Concourse are resultant of the Parks Department's reconstruction projects dating from 1979 through the early 1980's, which included the restoration of the fountain and the removal of its function as a parking lot; and

WHEREAS, The 1980's reconstruction of the circular platform surrounding the fountain, included paving in brick and bluestone in an interlacing star, reminiscent of the Campidoglio Plaza in Rome, is not based on the designs of Olmsted and Vaux; and

WHEREAS, Also resultant of these earlier reconstruction projects, the area surrounding the fountain was repaved with asphalt and designated as a space for carriages, pedestrians, bicyclists, and special events, and the landscape margin between the asphalt and pedestrian path had been removed and replaced with a paved margin of brick and granite block, all paved areas were separated by curbs, and these decorative pavements and the various curbs that separate them call attention to the concourse itself and tend to frame and emphasize the asphalt roadbed; and

WHEREAS, The scope of work in the current proposed reconstruction project includes:

WHEREAS, The proposed project work would make great improvements upon the infrastructure and the aesthetics, as these plans take into account Olmsted &Vaux's original design by minimizing the non-landscape decorative elements; therefore, be it

RESOLVED, That Community Board Five recommends approval of Central Park Conservancy's proposal for the Reconstruction of the Cherry Hill Concourse in Central Park.

The above resolution passed by a vote of 36 in favor; 0 opposed; 1 abstaining.

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