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Under construction: Prospect Park Alliance lead restoration project of Grand Army Plaza arch

Prospect Park Alliance, a nonprofit group that operates Brooklyn’s central park, is beginning a restoration project on the historic Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Arch at Grand Army Plaza.

The operation, led by the Alliance and a partnership with the city, will repair the arch’s exterior and renovate lighting, according to park employees. 

“We are thrilled with the planned restoration of the historic arch at Grand Army Plaza, which has served as a Brooklyn icon and welcomed visitors to Prospect Park for more than 130 years,” ue Donoghue, said NYC Parks commissioner. “The first meaningful restoration work on the arch in decades, this project will clean and repair the exterior, and add improved, energy-efficient lighting to better showcase the arch’s historic elements. The restored arch will serve as the perfect complement to the broader restoration of Grand Army Plaza.”

The Arch was placed in the plaza in 1889, before being dedicated in 1892 to commemorate those who fought with Union troops during the Civil War. Since then the structure has undergone various restoration projects including one led by the city in 1977 through 1979.

The latest renovation will be the first since the mid-1990s and includes replacing the arch’s roof, cleaning and repointing the brick and stone structure, repairing interior elements and including a historic iron staircase.

Locals and tourists alike stop by Grand Army Plaza throughout the year for celebrations, musical events and holiday parties.Locals and tourists alike stop by Grand Army Plaza throughout the year for celebrations, musical events and holiday parties.File Photo

“The beloved Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Arch at Grand Army Plaza is a Brooklyn icon and an important gathering space for dialogue and protests that advance social justice. We are so grateful to the Mayor’s Office for providing the funding to make this project possible,” Morgan Monaco, president of the Prospect Park Alliance said in a statement. 

This upgrade is a part of a larger project backed by $8.9 million in Mayoral funding  to restore all of Grand Army Plaza, the formal entrance to the park. The Alliance began replacing the landscape berms that frame the plaza in fall 2022 — a segment that included removing plants, shrubs and trees in poor condition and adding native trees. The organization will also replace the existing chain link fence with low, decorative steel fencing and restore the broken bluestone and granite paving around the fountain and John F. Kennedy Memorial to make it ADA accessible.

Project leaders aim to wrap up work on the Plaza and berms in Fall 2023. The Arch restoration project is expected to take 12 months and reopen to the public in Spring 2024.

While under construction, access to the Arch will be restricted and the public is asked to use the crosswalks and pedestrian pathways at Plaza Streets East and West.

“Prospect Park Alliance is excited to restore this landmark in all its glory so it can serve as a welcoming beacon and essential civic space for our community for generations to come,” Monaco said.