A plot of land that was once used as the final resting place for 2,000 marines and naval shipmen will soon be transformed into a memorial park. The site is being developed as part of a larger plan by the Brooklyn Greenway Initiative, which is developing 14 miles of unused space around the Brooklyn Navy Yard into a lush waterfront. The former naval cemetery will become the Navy Yard Hospital Memorial Landscape, a meadow of native plants with raised pedestrian walkways, designed by Nelson Byrd Woltz and Rogers Marvel Architects.
Although the bodies of the sailors were transferred to the Cypress Hills Cemetery in the 1920s, BGI wanted to create an outdoor environment that honors the history of the site. Pedestrians will enter the park through raised wooden walkways that will hover over fields of a freshly planted meadow of indigenous New York species. The former graves will be outlined with elevate steel frames, that will eventually become overgrown as the meadow grows and the new ecological system thrives.
The BGI expects the new Memorial Landscape to be a welcome addition to the current surrounding low-income neighborhood, providing new park space, but also infusing a historic aspect to the area that the neighborhood residents can be proud of.
The project has been expertly funded through BGI’s efforts. The New York Department of State’s Local Waterfront Revitalization Program allocated $600,000 for the project, and $42,000 has been granted from the TKF Foundation. Other fundraising pushes will raise the final funds needed. The new Naval Yard Hospital Memorial Landscape is expected to be open as early as the summer of 2013.