Photo: NYC Parks / Daniel Avila

Yesterday, NYC Parks Staten Island Borough Commissioner Lynda Ricciardone joined State Senator Diane J. Savino, State Senator-Elect Jessica Scarcella-Spanton, District Attorney Michael McMahon, District Manager of Community Board 1 Joan Cusack, representatives of Staten Island Borough President Vito Fossella, Assembly Member Charles D. Fall, Councilmember David Carr, and Councilmember Kamillah Hanks, and community members to officially cut the ribbon on a $1 million renovation of John E. White Playground in White Park in Staten Island. 

“We’re so happy to reopen this beloved playground for Staten Islanders, with brand-new equipment for our kids and toddlers,” said NYC Parks Commissioner Sue Donoghue. “Thanks to this $1 million investment from our elected officials, this new and improved playground will be ready to welcome Fort Wadsworth children for years to come.”  

“I’m extremely proud of my team and the work we have been involved in allocating millions of dollars towards renovations over my time as your State Senator; in my tenure we have seen improvements to De Matti Park, Buono Beach, Corporal Thompson Park, and now the opening of John E. White Park,” said New York State Senator Diane J. Savino.   

“This playground is a wonderful tribute to Staten Island World War I veteran John Edward White who dedicated his entire life to sacrifice and service. We hope the families who visit this park will know the story of Mr. White and understand his legacy,” said Staten Island Borough President Vito Fossella. “I want to thank Senator Savino for investing in one of the greatest assets Staten Island has – our parks. I also thank Commissioner Ricciardone for her efforts in getting community input on this needed renovation.” 

“Young people need clean and safe outdoor recreational spaces to develop, get physically active, and make lifelong memories! I am so thrilled that the children who come to play at the John E. White Playground in Fort Wadsworth will be able to do so in updated, brand new facilities — it’s what they deserve,” said Council Member Kamillah Hanks. 

“Our work in the District Attorney’s Office is more than just holding accountable those who break the law. It is about preventing crime however and whenever we can, and that is a mission our borough’s parks play an integral role in achieving by fostering pride in our neighborhoods. Today’s ribbon cutting marks the turning of John E. White Playground into a true community asset for Rosebank, and I deeply appreciate my friend Senator Savino and the Parks Department for their commitment not just to this project, but to the health and people of Rosebank and all of Staten Island,” said District Attorney Michael McMahon. “Lastly, it must be noted the naming of this park for John E. White, an Army veteran killed as part of the American Expeditionary Force in World War I, rightly underscores our promise grounded in our duty to never forget our heroes even 100 years later. Thank you, and God bless the memory of John E. White and all of our veterans.” 

This is the first renovation of the playground in more than 20 years. The newly reconstructed playground includes renovated play equipment for children 2-5 years old, a play house for toddlers, a spray shower, fencing, pavements, site furniture and decorative bins reflecting the historical character of the park, and new plantings. Community engagement is critical in Parks projects, and Parks held a community input meeting for the playground in July 2018.  

This $1 million renovation was made possible with funding from the New York State Dormitory Authority through State Senator Diane J. Savino. 

This playground honors Staten Island World War I veteran John Edward White (1893-1918). Born in Fort Wadsworth, Staten Island, White served as a trainman for the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad in St. George, Staten Island. Never marrying, White enlisted in the United States Army to fight in World War I (1914-1918) and became a member of the Allied Expeditionary Force. He gave his life assisting in the defeat of Germany.