|October 26th, 2004, 11:16 PM||#1|
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Union Square Park to get a $14 million renovation
NY Daily News
Park gets seed money
BY DAVID SALTONSTALL
DAILY NEWS CITY HALL BUREAU CHIEF
Union Square Park is getting a new restaurant in a $14 million face-lift that's being partially funded by a mysterious private donor who has agreed to shell out $5 million.
The anonymous pledge - one of the largest single gifts ever to the city - was announced yesterday by Mayor Bloomberg, who conceded only that the big giver is not him.
"From other people," was all he said yesterday about the source of the mystery funds, which others identified as a wealthy Manhattanite with a private family foundation.
The renovations, which will focus on the north end of the 165-year-old park, will combine two existing playgrounds into one and refurbish the paved area that hosts the park's farmers' market.
The dilapidated, granite pavilion at the north end of the park also will be turned into a year-round restaurant, replacing the outdoor eatery there.
While the local community board has signed off on the project, there was some opposition expressed to the restaurant.
"Why are we taking away potential playground [space] to accommodate a restaurant, which this neighborhood clearly has enough of?" asked Geoffrey Croft, president of New York City Park Advocates, a nonprofit watchdog group.
One woman was hauled away by cops yesterday after shouting "Parks for people!" near the mayor.
City Hall will kick in $8 million, including $1.9 million budgeted by City Councilwoman Margarita Lopez (D-Manhattan), with the balance to come from funds raised by the Union Square Partnership. The fixup follows the renovation of the park's other areas in recent years.
Under the plan, two playgrounds totalling 5,100 square feet will be expanded into one playground covering about 8,000 square feet.
The farmers' market will remain open throughout construction, which likely will begin next year.
Union Square Park will get a $14 million renovation to its north end.
Originally published on October 26, 2004