On most online maps — and even on the Parks Department’s website — Corporal Irwin Fischer Park in The Bronx looks like any other park in the city.
But a trip to the tiny triangle of green space at West 170 Street and Nelson Avenue in Highbridge tells a different tale: Despite a city park placard at its entrance, the roughly half-acre plot is little more than a vacant patch of grass, secured by a locked chain-link fence.
To the frustration of locals, the space has been vacant for decades, even before the city acquired the land in September 1995.
That could change: The Parks Department is rolling out plans to develop the space. Parks officials recently shared design plans for a “new” $4.6 million park at the site with Bronx Community Board 4’s parks committee. The committee moved Monday to put the proposal before the full board.
If all goes as planned, construction will begin in 2021, Parks officials said.
“I used to call it ‘The Park That Isn’t,’” John Howard Algarin, chair of Community Board 4’s parks committee, told THE CITY. “It was just a fence that had a park placard.”
Funding for the new park, which would feature a new playground, game tables and accessible pathways, will come from the city’s Neighborhood Development Fund.
The proposal is one of six “catalytic investments” into parks and open space projects in the area following last year’s Jerome Avenue rezoning.
Other parks projects in the borough include a $25.7 million plan to renovate and expand nearby Grant Avenue Park and a $11.2 million investment in a new park further north on Davidson Avenue.
“We are excited to begin the process of bringing Corporal Irwin Fischer Park online as public greenspace,” said Parks Department Bronx Borough Commissioner Iris Rodriguez-Rosa in a statement emailed to THE CITY.
Local parents who spoke with THE CITY on Thursday were already excited about bring the long-vacant space to life.
“It would be nice if they had a little park here for the kids,” said Highbridge resident Richard Camacho. “I have an 8-year-old daughter, I’d like to bring her here.”
The plot was named for the late Cpl. Irwin A Fischer, who served in the 75th Joint Assault Signal Company of the Army Air Corps during World War II, according to the Parks Department.
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