Photo: NYC Parks / Malcolm Pinckney
NYC Parks Commissioner Sue Donoghue today joined Council Member Sandy Nurse and Brooklyn Community Board 16 Chairperson Genese Morgan for an official groundbreaking ceremony to celebrate the $21.6 million full reconstruction of Callahan-Kelly Playground in Brownsville, Brooklyn. Funded by the Mayor’s Office through the East New York Neighborhood Plan, this project will completely overhaul the 3-acre park, including all new play equipment, upgraded sports courts, and a brand new skate park.
“We are thrilled to continue this important reconstruction work on the total renovation of Callahan-Kelly Playground, which will help ensure new fitness and recreational opportunities for all ages,” said NYC Parks Commissioner Sue Donoghue. “This exciting and vital project will help ensure our parks are best able to serve our community and enhance our neighborhoods.”
“The newly reconstructed Callahan-Kelly park will be a welcome addition to Community Board 16 and the Broadway Junction area,” said Council Member Sandy Nurse. “This park will provide much-needed green space, incredible outdoor recreation features, and family-friendly play equipment. With the significant heat issues and a lack of recreation space for communities of color, this is an urgent need for my district and I congratulate the Parks Department for addressing this head-on.”
The park’s redesign adds a skate park, modern fitness equipment, ping pong tables and a new dog run. In addition, the old children’s play area is being completely revamped with upgraded play equipment for all ages and new water play. The renovation also provides a state-of-the art synthetic turf field and overhauled basketball courts. Construction began in Spring 2021 and is scheduled to be completed in Spring 2023.
This project also includes the expansion of usable park space by closing a block-long segment of Sackman Street to better connect the park and provide more opportunities for recreation.
After more than three years of community engagement and planning studies, the East New York Neighborhood Plan and rezoning was approved in April 2016. The rezoning included a $18.2 million commitment to transform Callahan-Kelly Park from an underutilized park and play space into a multi-generational destination playground and neighborhood gateway. The remaining $3.4 million was provided through additional mayoral funding.
Throughout the design process, Parks has worked closely with MTA on their Broadway-Junction Subway Station ADA upgrade project. As part of MTA’s future work, Parks and the MTA are collaborating to build a new comfort station within the newly constructed park.
Callahan-Kelly Playground was named for William E. Callahan and Edward E. Kelly, who were local soldiers who died during World War I. Both men lived near the park. Callahan lived at 98 Hinsdale Street, and Kelly lived at 1330 Herkimer Street. Callahan was a Corporal in Company L of the 305th Infantry. Kelly was a Private in Company G of the 23rd Infantry, and later the 106th Infantry.