Back in June, the Hudson Square Connection (a neighborhood BID) announced their plans to turn Soho Square, the half-acre open space at the intersection of Spring Street and Sixth Avenue in Hudson Square, into a public park. Since then, the Business Improvement District, in partnership with the city and neighborhood stakeholders, has been seeking input from the community to inform the $6 million renovation. Just last night, the design by Mathews Nielsen Landscape Architects was presented to the Community Board 2 Parks Committee, and it features sustainable, green infrastructure, storm water management, and more.
In 2012, the Hudson Square Connection unveiled its $27 million, five-year neighborhood improvement plan, which focuses on pedestrian safety, traffic flow, and the overall streetscape environment. The plan addresses the influx of residential, retail, and creative-sector commercial development in the rezoned area, which is generally bounded by West Houston Street, Canal Street, 6th Avenue, and Greenwich Street at the intersection of Hudson Square, Soho, and the South Village. The park renovation is part of this broader streetscape plan, which also includes other public spaces like Freeman Plaza near the mouth of the Holland Tunnel.
Hudson Square Park “is transformative in every way – from its new amenities to seasonality of planting to improved illumination and environmental sustainability,” said Mathews Nielsen Principal Signe Nielsen. “The space will offer convenient, comfortable and flexible places for people to have a quiet lunch, meet friends or pause within vastly expanded planted areas. A rebalancing of the proportions of paved and planted areas will collect and direct virtually all storm water to benefit trees and new plantings. New lighting will accentuate where people enter and move through the open space and fun, motion-triggered lights will cast a soft glow under benches as people walk by.”
According to the BID, the proposed design will:
- Increase the site’s permeable surface from 7.5% to 35% and, in turn, increases the site’s ability to capture storm water from 7.5% up to 87%–critical to relieving the city’s overburdened sewer system and mitigating flooding in the area.
- Increase the number of healthy trees on the site from 36 to 42. The trees along Sixth Avenue and Spring Street will be planted or retrofitted using the “Hudson Square Standard” (HSS)–an advance in urban forestry that increases storm water capture and vastly improves tree health. This regimen includes expanded tree pits, tree guards, and permeable pavement over structural soil.
- Feature distinctive, energy-efficient lighting that will provide a safe, inviting atmosphere during the day and night.
- Add 120 moveable chairs, 29 moveable tables, 24 benches, and 21 swivel chairs to the park.
- Includes a water fountain and 4 solar-powered compactors for waste and recycling.
The cost of the $6 million renovation will be split between the BID and the City. Next, the Hudson Square Connection will present the proposed design for Hudson Square Park to the Public Design Commission on March 2. Construction will likely begin in spring 2016 with an expected completion in fall 2017.
Renderings via Mathews Nielsen Landscape Architects
Neighborhoods : Hudson Square