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Renovation to the North Meadow Center in Central Park to Include the Park Operations Facility, Public Restrooms, and Recreation Courts

WHEREAS, The Central Park Conservancy has proposed renovations to the North Meadow Recreation Center and the surrounding site, located north of the 97th Street Transverse in the middle of Central Park; and

WHEREAS, The building was erected in 1910 as a maintenance facility and was later used as a stable and storage yard for Central Park; and

WHEREAS, The building was later converted in the 1930s by Robert Moses when the North Meadow ball fields and recreational area was developed; and

WHEREAS, The facility was later updated by the Conservancy in the 1980s, at which time they created the basketball courts in the former storage yard; and

WHEREAS, Currently the facility is used for staff operations as well as for recreation support and community use; and

WHEREAS, The current facility has public restrooms that are tucked into the corners of the building and are hard to find; and

WHEREAS, The public programs office is located off to the side in the west wing of the building; and

WHEREAS, In the proposed renovation the public restrooms and public programs office will be centrally located in off of the existing breezeway; and

WHEREAS, The new restroom facilities will be ADA compliant and with a gender neutral/ family restroom provided in addition to men’s and women’s restrooms; and

WHEREAS, The new restrooms will be smaller than the existing separate and oversized restrooms but adequate to serve the public with an equal number of fixtures for both the men’s and women’s restrooms; and

WHEREAS, The oversized existing multipurpose room will be relocated adjacent to the public programs office and will be continue to be used for Conservancy trainings and community uses; and 

WHEREAS, The Conservancy’s headquarters for their North Park operations will be relocated in the side wings and remaining portion of the central wing, and fully renovated; and

WHEREAS, The exterior of the building will be renovated with the masonry cleaned and repointed, cast-iron columns restored, windows and doors replaced in-kind, and the roof repaired; and

WHEREAS, All stone work on the building will be done with care to preserve the original look and match the existing material; and

WHEREAS, Any original material removed from the building will be salvaged for future use; and

WHEREAS, Two new doors will be provided, in keeping with the design of the existing building, in the location of existing windows that were added in the 1930s, in order to provide egress and access for the Conservancy staff; and

WHEREAS, The site around the building will be renovated to provide better access, enlarged electric vehicle parking and charging stations, areas for new storage containers and other exterior operational functions, with enhanced screening, landscaping, and paving; and

WHEREAS, A new stone retaining wall is proposed at the end of the east wing of the building, due to the change in grade, in order to facilitate access for Conservancy staff from the electric vehicle parking into the building; and

WHEREAS, The three youth basketball courts will be repaved and the full-sized basketball court, which has been used for parking, will be renovated and returned to recreational use; and

WHEREAS, The existing handball courts, currently used for pickle ball, will be refurbished and returned to use as handball courts; and

WHEREAS, Two new pickle ball courts will be built in an unused area that originally was used for horseshoe throwing; and

WHEREAS, The existing chess and checker tables will be relocated along the north side of the building, along with bicycle racks and new drinking fountains; and

WHEREAS, No trees will be removed for the renovation and additional landscaping screening will be provided; and

WHEREAS, The lighting within and surrounding the facility will be of low foot candles and shielded fixtures to minimize the illumination within the Park; and

WHEREAS, The cost of the renovation is budgeted at $20M from NYC and private philanthropic funds and is fully funded; and

WHEREAS, No donor naming signage will be provided; and

WHEREAS, The construction duration will be between 12 to 18 months planned to start in September 2022, during which time temporary signage will be provided directing the public to the nearest restrooms; and

WHEREAS, The Central Park Conservancy has consistently exhibited good stewardship of the Park is largely self-funded by generous donors to keep” The Lungs of the City”; in good working order; therefore, be it

RESOLVED, Community Board Five recommends approval of the application for renovation of the North Meadow Center.

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