It’s a new look for an old park named for an eternal hero.
State officials and the family of a late veteran born and bred in Brookyln snipped the ribbon to reopen a Greenpoint park bearing the serviceman’s name, following a multi-million-dollar renovation of the green space.
World War II veteran Sgt. William Dougherty spent his early days playing in the meadow, and now a new generation of youngsters can enjoy his childhood playground, which the state closed back in 2014 to make way for the construction of the first of two new spans replacing the old Kosciuszko Bridge, according to Gov. Cuomo.
“This new and expanded open space will be a vibrant attraction for local families and residents,” the governor said. “It’s fitting that the new Sergeant William Dougherty Park is named for a war hero, and his legacy will live on through this public space.”
State pols allocated some $12 million to makeover the park last renovated 34 years ago, transforming it from a small, square-shaped lawn at the corner of Cherry Street and Vandervoort Avenue into a larger, rectangular patch now bounded by Vandervoort and Porter avenues, and Cherry and Anthony streets.
And inside, green space that used to include some dilapidated hoops and a playground now features a skate park, new basketball and handball courts, spray showers, a revamped playground, and a bathroom, according to a rep for the state Department of Transportation, who said the meadow remains owned and operated by the city.
Greenpoint Assemblyman Joseph Lentol and Lieutenant Gov. Kathy Hochul joined Dougherty’s relatives on Monday to reopen the park, where construction kicked off last December, months after the first new Kosciuszko Bridge opened in April as part of an $873-million project to replace the old crossing, which carries Brooklyn-Queens Expressway traffic over the fetid Newtown Creek and into the outer borough of Queens. The second of the new Kosciuszko spans is expected to debut in 2020, according to officials.
The city in 1948 named the green space after Dougherty — a member of the Army’s fabled “Fighting Sixty-Ninth” infantry regiment from New York City — who died four years earlier while fighting in the Battle of Saipan on that island in the Pacific Ocean, and posthumously received honors including a Purple Heart and a Bronze Star for his service.