Photo: NYC Parks / Daniel Avila
Community Parks Initiative (CPI) aims to create a more equitable park system by investing in high-density, low-income areas that have been previously overlooked
10 new CPI sites are focused in hardest-hit COVID areas
NYC Parks Commissioner Sue Donoghue today announced the 10 newest sites to receive funding for renovations through the Community Parks Initiative (CPI) – the City’s first major parks equity initiative. The Commissioner joined Assembly Member Maritza Davila, and Council Member Lincoln Restler to celebrate the reopening of the Bartlett Playground in Williamsburg, Brooklyn after an $8 million full reconstruction – also funded through CPI. The playground now features all new play equipment, a water play area, basketball courts, adult fitness equipment, a multi‐purpose synthetic turf area, and new plantings.
“The pandemic proved just how critical parks are to the physical and mental wellbeing of New Yorkers – even more so for those who live in dense, underserved neighborhoods,” said Commissioner Donoghue. “The Community Parks Initiative has already touched the lives of more than 500,000 New Yorkers by transforming their relationships with their neighborhood parks, like Bartlett Playground in Williamsburg. We’re so proud to expand on these efforts, with a targeted focus on the areas hit hardest by COVID.”
“It’s great to see playgrounds in my beloved Williamsburg get the upgrades community members deserve, but it’s more rewarding to support my colleagues in upgrading multiple parks throughout the five boroughs to ensure children and families have high-quality, modern, green spaces to enjoy recreational activities and the open air. Thank you to Commissioner Sue Donoghue, Assembly Member Maritza Davila, and Council Member Lincoln Restler for their work at Barlett Playground and the 10 other parks getting upgrades as a part of the Community Park Initiative,” said Brooklyn Borough President Antonio Reynoso.
“Parks enrich our physical and mental health, they support strong communities, and they build resilience against the deadly effects of climate change,” said Council Member Shekar Krishnan, Chair of the Committee on Parks and Recreation. “During the height of the pandemic, when my district was the epicenter of the epicenter, Frank D. O’Connor Playground across the street from Elmhurst Hospital offered respite for so many frontline workers and fresh air for so many families awaiting news from loved ones. I’m proud to have won a record budget for NYC Parks, which supports the Community Parks Initiative and tens of millions of dollars in new investments in restorative spaces like Frank D. O’Connor Playground. Across the city, communities like Elmhurst deserve nothing less.”
“After years of planning and construction, I’m thrilled that Bartlett Playground in South Williamsburg is complete! The entirely new basketball courts, playground equipment, turf area, and comfort station, will provide much needed recreational space for the South Williamsburg community,” said Council Member Lincoln Restler.
“Playgrounds are a space where children are encouraged to explore different activities and develop their senses and mobility skills. The reconstruction of Bartlett Playground provides a dynamic environment for children to engage in fun interactive new play equipment. The children and families in my district are excited to utilize and enjoy this space that was once underinvested. I’m honored to be here today for the Ribbon Cutting alongside NYC Parks Department, as we thank the Commissioner, their entire team and the Community Parks Initiative for their work in bringing this plan into fruition,” said Assemblywoman Maritza Davila.
“We’re grateful to have another renovated, beautiful park, at Bartlett Playground, for children and families to enjoy outdoors, take in the fresh air and engage in physical activities. We are grateful to Mayor Adam’s administration, Parks Commissioner Donoghue and the Parks department team for working with us during the process to take the input of all neighbors and students who will use the park, and to design the park in accordance with their input and needs,” said Rabbi David Niederman, President of the UJO of Williamsburg and North Brooklyn.
Through the Community Parks Initiative, NYC Parks is redesigning and rebuilding underinvested community parks in high-density, low-income and growth areas. Since launching in 2014, CPI has fully reimagined 67 parks – 65 of which are already open to the public. An additional $425 million in Mayoral funding was baselined in October 2021, which will result in 10 new CPI sites a year for the next 10 years, bringing the total number of CPI sites to 167. Ten new sites are already in design, and ten new sites will start design. New sites being addressed with baselined funding focus on COVID hardest-hit areas.
The ten newest Community Parks Initiative sites are:
Jennie Jerome Playground
St. Andrew’s Playground
Pena Herrera Playground
Rolph Henry Playground
St. Nicholas Playground South
Frank O’Connor Playground
Lt. Lia Playground
The reconstruction of Bartlett Playground was funded with $8 million in Mayoral funding. Construction began in October 2020 and was completed in July 2022. The space now features new play equipment, an updated water play area, basketball courts, adult fitness equipment, multi‐purpose synthetic turf area, and new plantings. Additionally, 0.14 acres has been added to the park, after a parcel was transferred to Parks from the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD). The total park size is now 1.22 acres.
The Bartlett Playground project also included new sustainable features and strategies including: an increase in site permeability from 15% to 30% through the introduction of the new planted areas, and the addition of 36 new trees to increase shade and improve air quality. Native plants were selected to increase species diversity and provide habitat for birds and beneficial insects, and all new lighting will use energy efficient LED luminaires.