$12 Million Park Expansion and Renovation Completed as Part of Construction on Nearby Kosciuszko Bridge
Project Compliments the Governor's $1.4 Billion Vital Brooklyn
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the grand opening of the Sergeant William Dougherty Park in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. The public park was expanded and completely renovated as part of the construction of the nearby Kosciuszko Bridge - the first new bridge constructed in New York City since the Verrazano Bridge in 1964. The $12 million park is named for Sergeant William T. Dougherty, a World War II hero who was born in Brooklyn and played in the park in his youth.
"Public parks are integral to our communities, and this new and expanded open space will be a vibrant new attraction for local families and residents," Governor Cuomo said. "It's fitting that the new Sergeant William Dougherty Park is named for a war hero and local resident who enjoyed the park in his youth, and his legacy will live on through this public space for generations to come."
Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul, local officials and members of Sergeant Dougherty's family attended today's opening ceremony at the park.
"This state-of-the-art community park provides a new public space for children and families, and honors Sergeant William Dougherty for his bravery and ultimate sacrifice," said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul, who made today's announcement. "This new park features many improved features including a playground, skate park, basketball court, and other amenities. Like with Sergeant Dougherty when he was young, this park will be a great place for residents to connect and play, and continues our efforts to advance development and opportunities in Brooklyn and throughout New York City."
The revitalized park compliments the Governor's $1.4 Billion Vital Brooklyn Initiative and the state's efforts to build 34 new or improved pocket parks, community gardens, playgrounds and recreation centers within a 10-minute walk for every Central Brooklyn resident.
The new park features a playground, skate park, basketball court, handball courts, a water play area with spray showers and a comfort station. Seating is available throughout the modern, landscaped facility.
"The new Kosciuszko Bridge and this beautiful new Sergeant Dougherty Park are great examples of how Governor Cuomo is enhancing communities so that they can continue to prosper," New York State Department of Transportation Acting Commissioner Paul A. Karas said. "Sergeant Dougherty was a son of Brooklyn who fought bravely to protect our freedom. It is fitting that his home park is named in his honor, serving the community by enhancing recreational opportunities and improving the quality of life."
As part of the $873 million Kosciuszko Bridge construction, the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway (I-278) was re-aligned and nearby Cherry Street was relocated slightly to the south. The former Sergeant Dougherty Park was reconfigured from a square to a rectangle, expanded slightly and extended farther east toward Porter Avenue. The park is just west of the iconic Kosciuszko Bridge, which can be seen from inside the park.
The park, surrounded by Vandervoort Avenue, Cherry Street, Anthony Street and Porter Avenue, was renamed in 1948 to honor Sergeant William Dougherty, a World War II Army National Guardsman, who died heroically on July 9, 1944 in a battle at Saipan in the western Pacific Ocean. A member of the "Fighting Sixty-Ninth" - the fabled 69th Infantry Regiment of the U.S. Army from New York City -- Dougherty was posthumously awarded both the Purple Heart and the Bronze Star.
Family members of Sergeant William Dougherty said, "The family is very happy that the State decided to keep the name Sergeant Dougherty Park in honor of our uncle. The reconstruction and addition of more contemporary features of the park's design will make it very attractive to the current generation, and will go a long way towards enhancing its stature as an enduring legacy to the community, while highlighting the personal and historic nature of the location."
The New York City Department of Parks and Recreation will own and operate the park.
The Kosciuszko Bridge project is replacing a 78-year-old bridge with two new state-of-the-art cable-stayed bridges. Governor Cuomo opened the first span of the bridge in April 2017—the Queens-bound bridge is carrying three travel lanes in each direction of the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway until the second, Brooklyn-bound bridge is completed next year a full four years ahead of the original project schedule. When the new bridge is complete, there will be five Queens-bound travel lanes of the BQE and four Brooklyn-bound travel lanes, for a total of nine lanes. In addition, there will be a 20-feet-wide multi-use bikeway/walkway on the Brooklyn-bound span with spectacular views of Manhattan. The bridge carries approximately 200,000 commuters daily.
As part of the Vital Brooklyn initiative, Governor Cuomo in September announced that the largest state park in New York City will open in Brooklyn next year. The new, 407-acre park will be named in honor of Shirley Chisholm, a Brooklyn-born trailblazer who was the first African American Congresswoman and the first woman and African American to run for president.
In November, the Governor announced four winning proposals that will collectively create more than 2,700 100-percent affordable homes in central Brooklyn with apartments and supportive services for the developmentally disabled, individuals aging out of foster care, and chronically homeless families. The Governor also announced the release of a second round Vital Brooklyn affordable housing request for proposals advancing the initiative's $578 million goal to create 4,000 units of affordable housing. Governor Cuomo in August announced New York State Homes and Community Renewal will finance 1,000 affordable homes for seniors on underutilized land owned by the New York City Housing Authority in Central Brooklyn.
Also last summer, Governor Cuomo announced a $3.1 million investment to renovate and transform eight community gardens and deliver a much-needed direct water connection to 14 others, to be completed by fall of 2019. Prior to that, the Governor also announced flagship ambulatory care sites and partnerships with six Brooklyn-based federally qualified health centers to form the foundation of its $210 million, 32-site ambulatory care network.
As the next step of the comprehensive initiative, Governor Cuomo announced new actions over the summer to increase access to nutritious foods and address chronic food insecurity and health disparities in Central Brooklyn communities. The Governor also announced a $1.825 million investment in new mobile markets, food insecurity screening for seniors, youth run farmers' markets, community gardens, and a food distribution hub siting study, to help ensure local communities have the ability to purchase fresh, local foods, and have the support they need for healthier lifestyles.
Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney said, "I am delighted by the reopening of Sergeant William Dougherty Park today. This is the realization of a long-promised transformation. This park has seen improvements over the past 60 years, but today, we finally see it reach its full potential. As the first of the promised parks the state is funding as part of mitigation for the impact of the Kosciuszko Bridge replacement project, we are off to a great start. I am thrilled to have secured $670 million in federal funds for the construction of the new bridge, roughly 85% of the projected cost of replacement, and even more excited to see the community already reaping the benefits of the first span. The newly revitalized, beautiful Sergeant Dougherty Park is just one of them. I look forward to seeing it be an oasis in a densely urban community - a place for new memories to be formed and neighbors to share a sense of community."
Assembly Member Joseph R. Lentol said, "Open space is a wonderful asset for New Yorkers. With a city as dense as ours, we need as much open space as possible. Not only did we get a new bridge, but we are getting a revitalized and expanded park. Sergeant William Dougherty gave his life for our country and there is no better way to honor a man who gave back than by giving this park back to the community. Thanks to the Governor for ensuring the community received a beautiful new park."
Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams said, "Parks are the great equalizers, bringing children and families together from different walks of life to enjoy recreation and relaxation. In that spirit, I'm glad that the legacy of Sergeant Dougherty will live on in Greenpoint through an expanded and renovated park, made possible by State funding for a community in need of open space."