The ribbon cutting for Grassmere Playground. Photo courtesy of NYDEC
BY ARIEL HERNANDEZ
To celebrate Ribbon-Cutting Relay Day, the city’s Parks Department joined Councilman Donovan Richards (D-Laurelton) and residents from Far Rockaway to cut the ribbon on Grassmere Playground following major upgrades and renovations.
The $3.3 million renovation at Grassmere Playground is part of Parks’ $318 million Community Parks Initiative (CPI) to renovate more than 60 community parks that have not undergone significant improvements in decades. Five of the renovated parks were reopened on Relay Day.
“In 2014, we launched the Community Parks Initiative with a commitment to bring world-class neighborhood parks to all New Yorkers. Today, we’re seeing the results of that promise,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “The five completely rebuilt parks we opened today illustrate the breadth and impact of CPI, which has already impacted more than one million children through physical park improvements, expanded programming and enhanced community partnerships.”
Grassmere Playground’s renovations consist of two new play areas, a 100-meter track and junior soccer field, an educational wooded trail, outdoor classroom, junior basketball court, adult fitness equipment, children’s water play area and improved planting, seating and lighting.
“There is no better justification for the Community Parks Initiative than the opening of Grassmere Playground in Far Rockaway,” said Richards. “This beachfront community has been severely underserved by green space for decades, forcing seniors and children to travel dozens of blocks to find a beautiful and safe open space. This brand new park will surely bring many educational and entertainment opportunities for families and schools throughout the peninsula.”
In addition to the renovations, New Green Infrastructure elements were added in an effort to capture storm water. The upgrades were funded by $427,000 from the city’s Department of Environmental Protection.
“DEP is proud to be a partner in NYC Parks’ Community Parks Initiative, which is transforming neighborhood parks across the city,” said DEP Commissioner Vincent Sapienza. “By installing green infrastructure in these rebuilt playgrounds we are helping to reduce storm water runoff and improve the health of local waterways, including Jamaica Bay, Newtown Creek and the Bronx River.”
Renovations for all five playgrounds—Grassmere Playgrond, Hilltop Playground in Brooklyn, Lyons Square Playground in the Bronx and Martin Luther King Jr. Playground—totaled $24 million.
“The Community Parks Initiative is about creating a fairer and more accessible park system for all New Yorkers—and there’s no better expression of that than opening fully renovated parks across the city in a single day,” said Parks Commissioner Mitchell Silver. “The community of Far Rockaway now has an updated high-quality play space to enjoy, complete with a new track, soccer field and even an outdoor classroom.”
Reach Ariel Hernandez at (718) 357-7400, ext. 144, firstname.lastname@example.org or @reporter_ariel.