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Lower East Siders Want More Say in Essex Crossing's New Park

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The park planned for the Lower East Side's residential-commercial-retail-cultural-etc. megaproject Essex Crossing, which will run along Broome Street between Clinton and Suffolk, has evolved after designers spent months collecting feedback from the community. "We were hearing that, 'We want the place to be quiet, we want it to be relaxed, and we want nature,'" said landscape architect Claire Agre of West 8 at a community meeting last week.

Still, after community sessions and postcard campaigns for input, neighbors' concerns still cropped up. One woman worried the park would lack green space that people could actually sit on, like in Union Square. Agre responded, "It would be wonderful to have the whole thing green, but given the maintenance... and also having lawn in the shade is usually something that doesn't hold up very well." The designers did alter the sections of green space, breaking up the central path with an island, and dotted the perimeter with trees. But the most prevalent neighbor beef seemed to have less to do with design.

Though Agre acknowledged she had heard, loud and clear, that the community wants to deliver continued input regarding this technically private park, Community Board 3 wants something more binding. To that end, the parks committee passed a resolution advocating for a system to include neighbors in decision-making during the life of the park. "My main concern," said board member Ayo Arrington, "is at what point are we going to get this commitment in writing?"

The 15,000-square-foot space will include a kids' playground as well as moveable tables and chairs. Construction is set to begin in March 2015 and wrap up in 2017.

· Unveiled Essex Crossing Park is Basically For People-Watching [Curbed]
· All Essex Crossing coverage [Curbed]