Dangerously unstable and locked for more than a decade, BAM Park in Fort Greene has suddenly reopened.
The grass has been cut and the pathways have been cleared, transforming the previously overgrown jungle into a pleasant green space. Whether the crumbling underlying structure that made the park dangerous to walk in — the park sits on top of the Fulton Street G train stop — has been fixed is unclear. No signs warned visitors away from any areas Monday.
The 14,000-square-foot triangular park bordered by Fulton Street, Lafayette Avenue and St. Felix Street has been padlocked since 2005. Walking past the park this weekend, we noticed the gates were open and a few residents had found a place to sit on one of the benches.
Some of the weeds around the exterior fence have been removed. There are new plants in the ground and in pots, and areas look to have been recently resodded.
Although the walkways have been cleared, they are still in rough condition. Original benches are still in place, but some are missing planks or sagging.
Plans to revamp the park have been in the works for years. The park is owned by the Department of Housing Preservation and Development and is being developed by the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership.
In 2012, a study conducted by Langan Engineering and Environmental Services revealed, “high levels of contaminants such as arsenic, mercury, lead and pesticides buried in the soil beneath the park,” according to a story in DNAinfo.
In 2014, the city issued a request for proposals to fix up the park and selected landscape architect Quennell Rothschild & Partners.
The firm produced renderings of a design that shows a more open space, sans the gate that currently surrounds the park. It adds more seating and an elevated stage for performances, located at the tip of the park where Fulton and Lafayette meet.
But in 2017, an architect from Quennell Rothschild & Partners told Community Board 2 that to clean up all the soil in the park would result in the killing of the trees, which they are attempting to preserve, according to the Brooklyn Paper. A deck and an elevated walkway are planned to prevent harm to the roots of the trees.
As recently as the beginning of May, BAM Park remained locked, although tools left on the ground indicated work might begin soon.
The park was completed in the fall of 1984, according to the New Times. In 1978, a building on the site, whose address was 634 Fulton Street, was cited by the city as “unsafe.”
We have reached out to the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership and HPD for comment and will update when we hear back.
For an update on what happened check out our followup story here.
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