City finally plans to break ground on Cadman Plaza war memorial renovations

January 7, 2019 By Raanan Geberer Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Eagle file photo by Rob Abruzzese
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Local residents and advocates have waited many decades, but the city finally plans to break ground on renovations to the long-shuttered War Memorial in Cadman Plaza Park.

Many plans have been floated to bring the building, which was dedicated in 1950 as a memorial to World War II veterans, back to life, but the stumbling block was the need to make the building handicapped-accessible, according to Brooklyn Daily.

Currently, the basement contains bathrooms that are open to the public and some Parks Department facilities, but the main room, whose walls contain the names of Brooklyn residents who fought during the war, is empty.

In March 2017, news broke that the city Parks Department had collected the $4 million needed for a necessary upgrade. However, the money that was available turned out to be $1 million short, Brooklyn Daily said. The agency had expected to receive $2 million payments from the federal government, but only received $1 million.

Parks Department officials then approached Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams and Mayor Bill de Blasio for the needed extra funds. The money is slated to go toward installing ramps and an elevator from the main floor to the basement.

“Before we kick the bucket, my brother and I want this thing to get done so people can go visit,” Jack Vanasco, 91, a WWII veteran who fought alongside his 93-year-old brother Roy, told Brooklyn Daily.

Until around 2000, the large War Memorial space was used intermittently for meetings of veterans’ organizations, yoga classes, kids groups, theater productions and more. The last time it was used may have been in 2006, when Brooklyn Parks Commissioner Julius Spiegel shut down an art exhibit there by Brooklyn College MFA students due to sexual content.

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