Upper East Side park to receive major facelift backed by nearly $8.9 million in funding
An Upper East Side park is getting a full and complete renovation thanks to over $8.9 million in discretionary funding from local elected officials.
Ruppert Park, located at 1741 2nd Avenue, was originally built in 1979 and last received $192,000 in funding from then-Council Member Gifford Miller for new benches, sidewalk repairs, planting areas and play equipment. Now, nearly 25 years later, the park will be getting a much-needed upgrade.
Funding for the project comes from Council Member Ben Kallos, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, Council Member Keith Powers and from the City Council through Speaker Corey Johnson. Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, Community Board 8 and NYC Parks, as well as community stewards for Ruppert Park from the Manhattan Chamber of Commerce, Muslim Volunteers for New York and nearby Knickerbocker Plaza all joined in heralding the announcement.
“Ruppert Park has needed an overhaul since I was kid and no one wanted to play there. As a dad in the neighborhood, this is the closest park where I can take my 3-year-old daughter and even she gets bored here. I can’t believe it took my lifetime, but Ruppert Park is going to get a complete redesign to become a destination park in the neighborhood that everyone will want to go to,” said Council Member Kallos. “Thank you to Speaker Corey Johnson, Council Member Keith Powers, Assembly Member Dan Quart, Congresswoman Maloney, the Parks Department and the community for their partnership and investment in Ruppert Park.”
“The pandemic has illuminated the importance of well-maintained public space in our neighborhoods. For decades, Ruppert Park has been a jewel of the Upper East Side. I am proud to have helped secure funding for its renovations and look forward to spending time there for years to come,” said Council Member Powers.
The project is funded with 5.3 million from Council Member Kallos, $200,000 from Council Member Powers, $100,000 from Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, and $3.3 million from the City Council including Council Speaker Johnson and the Manhattan Delegation, with Kallos and Powers advocating for funding in the 2021-22 budget. All of the elected officials have worked alongside Congresswoman Maloney, who has been a leader in securing funding for parks in New York City.
“Living in a city, the importance of access to public parks and green open spaces cannot be overstated. Ruppert Park is more than a place for exercise and recreation, it’s a real community space that many Upper East Side families rely on, including my own,” said Assemblymember Dan Quart. “Today, I’m proud to stand with my partners in government to ensure that our beloved local park gets the overhaul it deserves and is welcoming, functional, and beautiful for years to come.”
Kallos and the Parks Department hosted dozens of residents at a public scoping session to discuss the details of the redesign of the park and to hear input from the community. Residents and organizations have worked for years to improve existing conditions, including the Manhattan Chamber of Commerce, the Knickerbocker Plaza tenants association, and Muslim Volunteers of New York.
“Ruppert Park is a welcome oasis in an area with very little open green space. Thanks to Council Member Kallos, the renovation will revitalize the park and provide enjoyment for everyone in our community, and that includes our canine friends,” said Rita Popper, President of the Knickerbocker Plaza Tenants’ Association.
“Ruppert Park is a beloved green space in the Yorkville/Upper East Side area and one of the largest parks in the neighborhood. It provides a much-needed respite for the community throughout the day from the children’s playground to the quiet nooks where people of all ages can enjoy lunch or a good read and more. Its importance became highly magnified during the pandemic,” said Muslim Volunteers for New York (MV4NY). “As Stewards of Ruppert Park and with the support of the Parks Department and Council Member Kallos, MV4NY has served the park since 2017 with comprehensive Park beautification and cleanup initiatives and community entertainment events. Ever since MV4NY has consistently advocated for capital funding and long-term investment in the Park. We are delighted and grateful that Council Member Kallos has allocated this significant amount for the Park’s revitalization and improvement.”
A design plan will be presented to the public at Community Board 8 and the Public Design Commission in 2021, and the project is expected to begin construction in 2023.