Bronx, NY.- Council Member Vanessa L. Gibson joined NYC Department of Design and Construction (DDC) Deputy Commissioner Tom Foley today to celebrate the partial reopening of the public plaza at the Bronx Hall of Justice in Concourse Village. The reopening provides additional much-needed space for pedestrians in the neighborhood plus a new mid-block path for people to travel between East 161st Street and East 162nd Street.
The building, at 265 East 161st Street, is nearing the completion of $40.35 million of repairs and renovations in two capital projects being managed by DDC for the NYC Department of Citywide Administrative Services (DCAS). Improvements include new waterproofing under the plaza to prevent leaks into a parking garage below. The plaza also has new concrete pavers, stairs, ramps, railings, lighting and tree planters. A larger planter will receive 16 new trees in the spring.
“After years of the public plaza at the Bronx Hall of Justice being closed to the public, I am proud to see DDC taking action to bring this public space back to the residents of the Bronx,” said Council Member Vanessa L. Gibson. “Although more work needs to be done, this is the first step in restoring much-needed open space to the neighborhood. I want to thank Commissioner Grillo and the DDC team for their work on this important project and I look forward to working with them as they work towards a full restoration of the plaza.”
“DDC is very pleased to be able to repair this public space and return it to the people of the Bronx,” said DDC Commissioner Lorraine Grillo. “In a few months, after the remaining trees are planted and the work in the plaza complete, more than one full acre of public space will have been restored for this busy community.”
“In a city as dense and busy as ours, public spaces provide a lifeline for openness, relief and community,” said State Senator Luis R. Sepulveda. “I commend DDC for their work to partially reopen the public plaza by the Bronx Hall of Justice, bringing back a central area for rest, leisure and pedestrian use. We look forward to the continued repairs to make this space fully functional again, as well as to continue the momentum for many other public spaces in the Bronx that are full of potential for our communities.”
“The reopening of the public space at the Bronx County Justice Hall exemplifies the continuous efforts of our city officials and agencies to increase accessibility and cohesion in local communities,” said Assemblymember Michael A. Blake. “Through the efforts of NYC DDC Commissioner Lorraine Grillo, Deputy Commissioner Tom Foley, Council Woman Vanessa Gibson and others, it is finally time for the public to return to a place they can utilize after years of repair and closure. I look forward to seeing the remainder of the upgrades completed within the Spring 2020 timeline for completion, so that our fellow Bronxites can take full advantage of the improved and beautified features and continue Building a Better Bronx”
“The reopening of the public plaza at the Bronx Hall of Justice that will make a unique open space available in our community,” said Assemblywoman Latoya Joyner. “With the official start of spring less than two months away – having this open space available will be particularly important and I appreciate the Department of Design and Construction reopening this space before the spring season is upon us.”
The courthouse opened in 2007 but the plaza was closed to the public in 2016 after it was found to be leaking water into lower areas of the building as a result of faulty construction when it was originally built. Approximately 58 percent of the plaza (28,335 square feet) has now been reopened, with the remaining 42 percent (20,005 square feet) anticipated to open after new trees arrive.
Other work to the building under the two DDC projects includes repairs to the building’s HVAC and climate control systems, waterproofing, plumbing, sewer lines, fire dampers, ductwork and interior glass and paint.