Allocated by East Side Councilmembers Ben Kallos and Keith Powers, as well as Speaker Corey Johnson, the funding package is much larger than the $2.4 million that Kallos promised when he first previewed the renovations in May. (Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer also kicked in some funds, bringing the total to $8.9 million.)
The money means that work may begin as soon as Fall 2022 and wrap up the following year — once plans have been presented to Community Board 8 and the Public Design Commission later this year.
Though well-loved by East Side families, Ruppert has "a very '70s design," as Kallos described it. Its four-leaf clover shape divides the park into four quadrants, including a little-used grassless area that has been repurposed as a dog run.
Other problems include an excess of vegetation that blocks sunlight and attracts insects, as well as a dearth of sitting areas, rat infestations, outdated play equipment and hilly areas that pose accessibility challenges.
"Ruppert Park has needed an overhaul since I was kid and no one wanted to play there," Kallos said in a statement. "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."
The final design will be influenced by public comments submitted online and in a May 20 scoping meeting that Kallos's office hosted with the Parks Department, which yielded dozens of suggestions from neighbors.