Parks & Recreation Commissioner Adrian Benepe today joined Lower Manhattan Development Corporation President Kevin M. Rampe, Battery Conservancy President Warrie Price, Council Member Alan Gerson and other local elected officials to break ground for renovation of the Battery Bosque. Thanks to $8.5 million allocated from the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation, the Battery Bosque will be transformed into a lush green space. Along the Battery waterfront, the bosque, a Spanish word meaning "grove of trees", includes 140 London Plane trees that were planted 50 years ago. "The perennial gardens in the Battery will be an oasis for all New Yorkers to treasure," said Commissioner Benepe. "The Bosque will be a destination for the park's over four million visitors each year. Thanks to the support of the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation and the Battery Conservancy, we continue our efforts to transform Lower Manhattan." "Open space is the heart of a neighborhood and today's groundbreaking at the Battery Bosque marks yet another important step in the revitalization of Lower Manhattan as we commit to transform Downtown into a true mixed use community," said LMDC President Kevin M. Rampe. "Under the leadership of Governor Pataki and Mayor Bloomberg, the LMDC has made an unprecedented commitment of $25 million dollars for open spaces allowing residents and visitors alike to enjoy such gems as Battery Park and contributing to the enhanced quality of life downtown." Parks & Recreation will replace the cracked asphalt and broken cobblestone with a new crushed stone surface. Park patrons will be able to enjoy 57,000 square feet of gardens. The gardens will be planted with 70,000 bulbs and 33,000 perennials. There will also be two food kiosks for eating within the gardens and a spiral, granite fountain. New curved seating and distinctive lighting will also be installed in the area. The project is expected to be complete this fall, with more plantings scheduled for the spring 2005 planting season. "The new bosque, with its majestic views of the harbor and Ms. Liberty, will create a welcome space for garden viewing, dining, relaxation and fun," said Warrie Price. The park is also slated to receive a new carousel featuring marine life figures created by sculptor Barbara Broughel. The carousel is funded though private sources as well as funds allocated by the LMDC and is currently in design. The design team for the Battery Bosque includes The Saratoga Associates, renowned Dutch garden designer Piet Oudolf, Weisz-Yoes Architects, and Tillett Lighting Design. Parks & Recreation team members include Resident Engineer Charles Tesler, Chief of Design Bonnie Koeppel, Chief of Management Services Mary Pazan, Manhattan Team Leader Mike Bolger, Deputy Team Leader George Kroenert, and Landscape Architect Katherine Bridges, who oversaw the design developments. The Battery Bosque's revitalization is part of LMDC's plan to rehabilitate and create 13 different green spaces in downtown Manhattan. Parks & Recreation has obtained more than $37 million from the LMDC, Federal, State, and City governments, foundations and corporations to rebuild parks and create new open spaces in the downtown area.