Historic $40M to restore the Vale in Prospect Park

Mayor Bill de Blasio displays symbolic check with city and Prospect Park Alliance officials
Office of the Mayor of the City of New York

Mayor Bill de Blasio has announced an historic $40 million allocation to restore the Vale in Prospect Park, the largest single allocation in the history of the Prospect Park Alliance, the non-profit that sustains the park in partnership with the city.

The mayor said the allocation will restore “important landscapes” within the 26 acres in the northeast corner of the park called the Vale. 

In making the announcement, the mayor was joined by NYC Parks Commissioner Gabrielle Fialkoff and Iris Weinshall, chair, and Sue Donoghue, president of Prospect Park Alliance, and community leaders. 

“Prospect Park is Brooklyn’s backyard,” said de Blasio. “It’s where I got married and raised my family, and where New Yorkers of all backgrounds come to spend time in nature. This historic $40 million in funding will ensure the Vale is restored to its full glory.” 

“Thanks to Mayor Bill de Blasio’s $40 million investment, the gateway to Prospect Park’s treasured Vale, the borough’s last remaining forest, will soon be renewed, restored and revitalized,” said NYC Parks Commissioner Gabrielle Fialkoff. 

“We are excited to work with our partners at the Prospect Park Alliance who provided the vision and advocated for this multifaceted project,” she added. “Upon its completion, the Vale will be home to an amphitheater, a pollinator meadow and so much more. This amazing new space will serve Brooklyn for generations to come.”

Weinshall said the Alliance thanked the mayor for his “leadership and vision in advancing Prospect Park, Brooklyn’s Backyard, for the millions of New Yorkers the park serves every year. 

“His support of this important restoration, in addition to the Grand Army Plaza arch and berms, and other projects, will be a lasting legacy in Prospect Park, and one that all New Yorkers can celebrate,” she said. 

Sue Donoghue, president, Prospect Park Alliance, said the nonprofit was 

founded over 30 years ago “to sustain, restore and advance the park for the entire Brooklyn community.  

“Today, through this historic funding allocation from the mayor, we will be able to realize the community’s vision for the 26 acres in the northeast corner of the park,” she said, stating that, since its founding, the Alliance has restored “significant landscapes and buildings in the park,” from the 150-acre woodland Ravine to the 26 acres in the southeast corner of the park, Lakeside and the LeFrak Center. 

“It is critical to advance this work to make the park fully accessible and welcoming for our community,” Donoghue added.  

New York State Assemblymember Robert Carroll said de Blasio’s historic $40 million investment in the Vale will have “a tremendous impact on Brooklyn’s incredible crown jewel, Prospect Park. 

“I know that NYC Parks and Sue Donoghue and the Prospect Park Alliance will implement this vital restoration with committed stewardship, and I am so grateful as an elected official who represents the park for their continued partnership,” he said. 

New York City Council Member Brad Lander said he was also “thrilled that we will continue our duty as stewards of the Park by investing this needed capital money in the Vale in Prospect Park.

“The pandemic has shown the whole city that our parks and our green spaces are a way for us to connect, and keep us healthy,” he said. “We must continue to create and care for our spaces, so New Yorkers for all ages will enjoy our beautiful Prospect Park for generations to come.” 

New York City Council Member Dr. Mathieu Eugene, the first Haitian to be elected to the City Council, said Prospect Park is known as “Brooklyn’s Backyard”, serving as “a wonderful resource for all New Yorkers to enjoy the gifts that nature has bestowed upon us. 

“I want to commend and thank Mayor Bill de Blasio, NYC Parks Commissioner Gabrielle Fialkoff, Chair Iris Weinshall, and The President of The Prospect Park Alliance Sue Donoghue, who are working together to restore The Vale in Prospect Park through a $40 million allocation in the City Budget,” said Eugene, who represents the 40th Council District in Brooklyn. 

The Rev. Sheldon N.N. Hamblin, the Barbadian-born rector of St. Paul’s Church in the Village of Flatbush, who participated in the community outreach effort that is guiding the Vale restoration, said: “How wonderful, how beautiful, when the community comes together.

“On many levels, this paraphrasing of a portion of Psalm 133 seems to encapsulate my experience as a civic leader and leader of a faith community, as I participated in the re-imagining of the ‘Rose Garden.’ 

“Of equal importance is the funding for the restoration of the ‘Vale’ area of the park,” he said. “This funding is truly an expression of commitment to making this park a park for all,”

The Mayor’s Office said the $40 million in capital funding will help to restore two historic landscapes: the Children’s Pool and the park’s former Rose Garden.