‘There is no band-aid solution’: Parks commissioner reveals costly price tag for Marine Park renovation

Expensive: The Parks Commissioner says the Marine Park renovation would cost $11 million.
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It’s a drastic park renovation.

Southern Brooklyn residents were stunned at a recent civic meeting by an estimated $11 million price tag to renovate Marine Park.

The Kings County Parks Commissioner informed locals of the extravagant cost at a gathering in the park’s Carmine Carro Community Center on April 16.

“It’s a huge amount of money,” said Marty Maher. “We agree that the park definitely needs to be redone, and we’ve been working together with elected officials, but it’s a very, very large sum.”

Locals have complained that the park has become decrepit, as cement pathways have begun to crack and rainwater swamps the low-lying parkland.

“There is no band-aid solution,” said Maher. “We need to redo the drainage infrastructure, which has not been redone in decades. We also need to look at redoing the pavement, and the lighting, and the landscaping around the park.”

The steep price, which Maher claimed was based on bids solicited by the Parks Department, was due to the outdated infrastructure in the park.

“It’s extraordinarily expensive to construct anything in New York City, but when you have to do things with outdated industrial systems, that adds to the cost,” he said. “This is mostly built on a landfill in the 1930s, so if you just say that you’re going to pour six inches of topsoil, you’re not correcting the drainage problem.”

The renovation cost would be almost 30 percent of the Parks Department’s total of $37,272,000 allocated to “maintenance, security and repair of all parks properties, vehicles and facilities in Brooklyn, including municipal parkland,” according to a City Council budget analysis.

Maher said the department was planning to work on the park in separate stages to spread the cost over several years.

“When we do a big project like Marine Park, we break it into phases,” he said. “We’re not going to do it all at once, because it’s not fair to expect our borough president, our Council member, our Assembly member, to come up with all that money, because that’s a very large chunk of change.”

Even with the advanced planning, residents should not expect the park to be completely remodeled.

“For example, the restroom at the end of Avenue U, I don’t see that being done in the near future,” said Maher. “A fully developed bathroom is very, very, very, very expensive. You could buy the house across the street and use that bathroom, it would probably be less expensive. So, I don’t see that happening.”

Marine Park, which is the largest of Brooklyn’s 877 park sites, boasts 530 acres of greenery, a golf course, multiple playgrounds, and several miles of bike paths. The shabby state of the park, and the challenging road toward fixing its problems, is a particular sticking point for residents of the surrounding communities, who made clear to Maher their displeasure at the Tuesday night meeting.

“It might not be what you want to hear, but I’ll always tell you the truth,” said Maher.

Reach reporter Aidan Graham at or by calling (718) 260–4577. Follow her at
Updated 12:17 pm, April 24, 2019
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Reasonable discourse

MJ from Bay Ridge says:
a small sales tax to increase funding of NYC parks budget is probably needed as the department only represents less than only 1 % of fiscal expenditure. The Parks department has been understaffed for too long (30+ years) and with outdated facilities.
April 24, 2019, 10:41 am
Jack from Brooklyn says:
But they had no problem spending $16 million on the field house they had that meeting in.
April 24, 2019, 12:47 pm
Is NYC Parks Dept most failed agency among so many in NYC? from Bay Ridge says:
From worst to even worst then that...a litany of questionable management by the Parks Dept:
April 25, 2019, 9:11 am
Tree Hugger from Fort Greene says:
Parks Dept plans to spend $10.5 million on Fort Greene Park to cut down 58 large pollutant-cleaning trees, put 13 more at risk and remove two large earthen mounds that absorb water run off and replace them all with a hard scape 43-foot plaza. (Great for vendors!) Total waste of money. They need to repair the park that they have neglected for many years, not replace a historic park used heavily by the residents. The truth- telling Marty Maher lied repeatedly to the community about the number of trees to be removed and their condition when presenting this plan. They would give no information without them being FOILED and then they heavily redacted an important report. No Transparency, no Truth in the Department of Parks.
April 25, 2019, 9:45 am
Kahlil from Boerum Hill says:
$11 million is cheap for over 500 acres. Marty Maher wants to spend that much on one acre in Fort Greene Park to destroy many trees like Tree Hugger just explained. Fort Greene Park is the greater ripoff of the two. Of course the Parks Dept also aids and abets cutting down trees on Parks-managed street properties to turn into pedestrian plazas that cost $5 million, $10 million and more. Marine Park looks very cheap by comparison.
April 25, 2019, 11:08 am
Historian from Marine Park says:
The $5 million budget for the field house/community center ended up being $16 million+, so we can expect this $11 million project to end up around $35 million. This a systemic problem for all NYC projects. On top of that, unions have a monopoly on labor costs for city projects.
April 25, 2019, 11:19 am
Kahlil from Boerum Hill says:
How right you are, Historian! The $10 million to clearcut the corner of Fort Greene Park will come in a way more if the project goes forward. The absurd costs of pedestrian plazas are kept under wraps because they can't be justified. Yes, graft rules. Business as usual in this administration.
April 25, 2019, 11:46 am
Anthony Losardo from Marine Park says:
I’ve lived here for close to 50 years. The park has never been more fully utilized, by a greater diversity of both people and activities, than it is now. This bill is money well-spent and a drop in the bucket compared to what’s been spent in so many other projects in high-income neighborhoods
April 27, 2019, 9:40 am

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