Central Park's Belvedere Castle set to reopen after 16-month restoration project

CENTRAL PARK, Manhattan (WABC) -- The beloved Belvedere Castle is set to reopen in Central Park following a 16-month renovation project.

The restoration project began February 26, 2018, and addressed drainage, waterproofing and climate control systems.

The site will reopen on Friday, June 28, but Eyewitness News got a preview of the upgraded castle on Tuesday.

The Belvedere has offered some of the most sweeping vistas of Central Park from its terraces and castle for more than a century, and approximately one million visitors enjoy its views each year.

The renovation included:
--Restoring the interior and exterior masonry
--Restoring the existing historic structure
--Expanding and modernizing mechanical systems and supporting utilities, including installation of a geothermal heating system
--Replacing existing windows and doors, upgrading interior and exterior lighting, and repairing and replacing interior floors and ceilings
--Restoring the wood pavilions on the main plaza and upper terraces, and recreating a wood tower that was originally part of the large pavilion at the northwest corner

There is still work underway, but the major renovation projects are completed.

The Belvedere (Italian for "beautiful view") sits atop a rocky outcropping and is known for its beautiful views of the park.

Calvert Vaux, co-designer of Central Park, conceived the castle in 1869, and it was last renovated in 1983.

The official weather observations for Central Park are taken at Belvedere Castle, and that equipment was not affected by the restoration.

A future phase of the project will include providing a more accessible route to the Belvedere, which is one of the most visited destinations in the park.

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