Longfellow Playground re-opened to the public on Tuesday, after more than a decade of neglect.
As part of its Community Parks Initiative, the city invested $3.2 million to resuscitate the former Longfellow Gardens at the corner of Longfellow Ave. and E. 165 Street. City Councilman Rafael Salamanca Jr., who grew up across the street from the park in its former incarnation, was joined by Parks Commissioner Mitchell J. Silver, the Department of Environmental Protection, Community Board 2 and students and staff from P.S. 75 today to cut the ribbon.
“I used to drive past this park with fond memories from my own childhood and now, I’m thrilled that new memories will be made by children and families in the neighborhood,” said Salamanca. At the ribbon-cutting ceremony, he reminisced about going to the park as a child because there were no swimming pools or other public parks nearby and his parents didn’t own a car to take him to facilities in other neighborhoods.
The former Longfellow Gardens had been closed due to structural safety concerns. The new playground includes a mini-stage, spray shower, new seating areas, bike racks, a new fence, lighting, landscaping, and greenery.
To manage stormwater runoff, the Department of Environmental Protection is adding infrastructure to help reduce sewer overflows, improve air quality and lower summertime temperatures.
This site is the sixth Bronx park to be completely renovated under the Community Parks Initiative (CPI), which invests in smaller city parks in low-income neighborhoods. The city has pledged to spend $318 to renovate 67 deteriorated parks citywide.