Up to $10 million slated for overdue improvements for two local playgrounds
Two local playgrounds will get a facelift by the end of 2018 thanks to funding from the mayor’s Community Parks Initiatives. The city broke ground on Lyons Square Park in late November, and plans for Hunts Point Playground are in the final review process.
The funding program was launched by Mayor de Blasio in October 2014 to help transform neighborhood parks. With an investment of $130 million, the city will reconstruct and transform 35 community parks across the city as well as add “green” infrastructure improvements with funding from the Department of Environmental Protection.
“When we break ground at neighborhood parks and playgrounds, we are beginning the process of transforming these spaces into enhanced recreational facilities that best serve the community,” said city Parks Commissioner Mitchell Silver.
Like all of the parks involved in the investment, Lyons Playground reconstruction was long overdue. The park has received $7.4 million to make repairs to the playground and the multi-use area and rebuild the comfort station. Construction will include new play equipment, a spray shower, basketball courts, more lighting, a picnic area, ping pong tables and fitness equipment, and should be completed by December 2017.
Hunts Point Playground is in the early stages of the procurement phase and will hopefully move on to construction by July 2017. The construction process usually takes between 12 to 18 months. The playground will receive between $1 to 3 million to go towards a much-needed renovation of its play equipment, safety surfacing, spray shower, fencing and benches, as well as improved and refreshed landscaping and infrastructure improvements.
“It’s good that storm-water management will be a component of the redesign since the neighborhood is so vulnerable to future flooding,” said Megan Douglas, communications director at New Yorkers for Parks, the citywide park advocacy group.
The renovations of the two parks are leaving community officials hopeful for the future of other local parks.
“We are very pleased with all of the investments the Parks Department will be making in our community this upcoming year,” said Maria Torres, chair of Community Board 2’s Economic Development committee. “We look forward to seeing the upgrades and having new, safe parks for our children and families throughout CB2.”
While some of the local Hunts Point parks are going under renovations, others still need some attention, according to the Parks Report Card put out annually by New Yorkers for Parks. The organization, which hopes to bring immediate action for repairs from its report cards, surveyed 35 parks between 5 and 25 acres across the city, including Barretto Point Park, Concrete Point Park and Rainey Park. Of the 35 parks surveyed, 14 received a C grade – including Concrete Plant Park and Rainey Park. Barretto Point Park ranked in the higher average with a B-.
The report graded parks in categories including drinking fountains, playgrounds, bathrooms, lawns, natural areas, pathways and sitting areas. Barretto Point Park scored high on drinking fountains, with a 100, while Concrete Plant Park’s water fountain scored a 50. The water features located in Barretto Point received a ‘very good’ grade with an 82 and Concrete Plant Park scored a 45.
In immediate environment, Rainey Park dominated with a 100, Concrete Plant Park received an 86 and Barretto Point Park got a low 18. Rainey Park fell in between the two for most of the categories and received good grades other than its athletic fields which got a 42.
With its report card, New Yorkers for Parks hopes to get more neighbors involved in park advocacy. “One of the biggest things is to join with other folks,” said Douglas. She recommended starting a “friends of” group that would push elected officials and the community board to pay attention, and collect stats about the park to show who uses it the most. “Making a data-driven case combined with personal stories and issues is really effective.”