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2013 Founders Fund Winner

THE GCA CENTENNIAL PROJECT

The GCA’s member clubs have voted to award the entire amount of The 2013 Award - $40,000 - to the GCA Centennial Project, the 69th Street entrance and the Dene Summer House Landscape, Central Park, New York, NY. No club proposals will be accepted for the 2013 Founders Fund Award.

Background

Over the years, the Founders Fund has made substantial contributions to the projects of GCA member clubs. For our 100th birthday, the 2013 Founders Fund Award will go to a celebratory project. The GCA has been officially headquartered in New York City for almost 90 years. If you wanted an important GCA project in the place you call home, what better place to have it than in the most visited city park in the United States – Central Park.
 
This will not be GCA’s first involvement with Central Park, but that’s a story for another day. The Centennial Project will cost $500,000. Prior to her death, former GCA President Kitty Ferguson donated $100,000 as a lead gift. It is hoped that each club will encourage 100% of its membership to support this endeavor by pledging $25 (or $5.00 a year for the next 5 years). In this way, the ownership of the Centennial Project will belong to each member of the member clubs.

The Project

The goal of this project is to make the East 69th Street (at Fifth Avenue) Entrance landscape more inviting and tie it together with the picturesque character of the Dene (a term meaning valley) through a revised layout and a harmonious blend of details and material. Starting at the perimeter wall, the entrance will be enhanced with a more generous threshold opening and plantings. Paths and benches will be realigned to provide ample seating and direct views into the park. Existing shrub masses that block sight lines will be thinned. New plantings will provide seasonal texture and visual interest. Tree work will be done to lessen their susceptibility to storm damage and to open the canopy.

The Landscape Architect

Chris Nolan is the Vice President for Capital Projects and has ultimate responsibility for overseeing all capital projects the Central Park Conservancy undertakes in the Park. He is a landscape architect by training. The Conservancy serves as general contractor on all restorations in the Park. Depending upon the type of restoration, Conservancy staff is used and supplemented with outside contracts as needed.

The Cost

The cost of the project as a whole, including the Dene House just to the south, which was funded separately by another donor and completed last spring, is approximately $1.5 million. Approximately $400,000 still needs to be raised before the East 69th Street Entrance portion, which the GCA is helping fund, is fully funded. It is the Conservancy’s policy not to undertake the final design or start construction until a project is fully funded.

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