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Simply Fabulous: Administrator Touts New Nature Trails

New trails are among the highlights with which Prospect Park is greeting its visitors, these days.Tupper Thomas, the Prospect Park Administrator, went over recent improvements made by the Prospect Park Alliance (PPA) in the 585-acre oasis during a recent meeting of Community Board 14’s Community Environment Committee, which was held at the board office, 610 East 16th Street.“We’ve now completed the fabulous nature trails that go from the Audubon Center up into the mid-wood along out to the peninsula, and into areas where previously people had not ventured so much,” Thomas reported.“And, in fact, they are fabulous and beautiful,” she went on. “There are little trail signs and headers telling you what to do. You can pick up a nature trail brochure at the Audubon Center. We have great birding, and in the spring, particularly, we have these fabulously beautiful birds. The walks are the last of the major projects we did in the park over the last five years.”The Parade Ground restoration is continuing, said Thomas. While the ball fields have been completed, projects remaining include work along Caton Avenue, including “new sidewalks, more trees, more benches.”A total of $500,000 in funding allocated by Assemblymember Rhoda Jacobs has been dedicated to the Caton Avenue project, said Thomas, who also said that Jacobs and Assemblymember Joan Millman had provided the funding for additional bathrooms for the Parade Ground that had been in the original plan but had not gotten funded at that time.“Those projects will be starting this spring,” Thomas noted, pointing out that the spring is also the targeted start date for the restoration of the Parade Ground playground.“We’ll actually be completing the whole Parade Ground now,” she went on. “It should be done in another year and a half or so. All the fields are now in use, and it’s fabulous. We have a little snack bar in the center which people are loving. It.”The use of artificial turf for the fields had been beneficial, stressed Thomas. “Before,” she recalled, “there was dust from the fields in people’s homes.” Now, however, she went on, “I think that people are pleased to live around there.”The nearby Tennis Center is also moving forward, said Thomas. “I think we’ll actually finish that tennis building,” she remarked. “That center is completely privately funded. It’s a beautiful facility. We run it year round. In the summer, you play with your city card, but we operate it. It really makes a nice thing for the public. It’s really well-run now, and really attractive, and there are a lot of nice programs for kids.”

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