ATLANTIC CITY — Brown’s Park, known as a crime hot spot, will get its long-awaited makeover.
Robert Preston, the city’s project manager for the park, said Wednesday that construction fencing is expected to go up in two weeks.
The $1.3 million renovation project, which includes new lighting, playgrounds, a community stage and a sculpture honoring Atlantic City veterans, should be completed between mid-April and Memorial Day, Preston said.
The Harold R. Brown Memorial Park was meant to honor the city’s first black resident to die in World War II. But officials say the park has become a hub for the homeless and drug-addicted. A Facebook video showing a man punching and knocking out a homeless woman there drew attention to the park’s problems.
The 6-foot fences that will surround the park should keep the homeless and addicts away, officials said.
“There’s activity that’s going on there now — it’s very popular — legally and illegally. And that activity is going to be moved out of the site,” Preston said at a meeting on the park in the Mayor’s Office. “They will stay out for the duration of the construction.”
But where will they go?
Perhaps nearby Renaissance Plaza, said police Chief Henry White.
“I think that’s where a lot of them are going to start congregating, or at least attempt to,” White said. “We’ll have to make sure that doesn’t happen.”
The project is now fully funded through grants, donations and Community Development Block Grant and Green Acres funds, officials said. Command Construction is the contractor, Preston said.
Councilman Kaleem Shabazz, who has advocated for the park’s revival, said the city needs to work with police, social services groups and the nearby housing complexes and Atlantic Cape Community College campus to keep crime away after the project is finished.
“I think if we do a combination of things, we can bring the park back to where it used to be,” Shabazz said.
Shabazz said he was ecstatic about the project’s progress and would like to have a Memorial Day opening ceremony at the park.
“I’m just happy for the veterans, that they’re going to have something that is up to par for the name of Harold Brown,” Shabazz said.
Shabazz said residents at a barber shop he goes to have told him the Brown’s Park renovation would never happen.
“I can go back to the barber shop and tell them they were wrong on this one,” he said.