Photo: Malcolm Pickney

First major renovation to Dugan Playground since 1997 

Yesterday, NYC Parks Commissioner Sue Donoghue joined Staten Island Borough President Vito Fossella, City Council Member David Carr, students and representatives from the St. Charles School, and community members to cut the ribbon on $3.72 million in renovations to Gerard P. Dugan Playground. 

“These enhancements guarantee that Staten Islanders of all ages will be able to enjoy this beloved community playground for generations to come,” said NYC Parks Commissioner Sue Donoghue. “Like our parks and beaches, playgrounds are vital public spaces for connecting with friends, building community, and staying fit. This renovation is just the latest example of our commitment as NYC Parks to providing safe, accessible public spaces in all five boroughs.”   

“I was pleased to join New York City Parks Commissioner Sue Donoghue in cutting the ribbon on the beautifully renovated Dugan Playground,” said Borough President Vito Fossella. “The playground has been a beloved mainstay in New Dorp since it opened in 1931. The brand-new features will ensure it remains a safe place for children to play and for the community to gather. It continues to serve as a wonderful tribute to its namesake, Gerard P. Dugan, a Marine Corps veteran who was a dedicated civic leader.” 

Dugan Playground has been completely transformed with brand-new features for the New Dorp community, including new play equipment for children ages 2-5 and 5-12, large and small swing sets, and spray showers. Parks also installed new water utilities, ADA accessible seating areas, and game tables; planted more trees and shrubs; and provided more shade in the center of the site, perfect for cooling off on hot summer days. 

The Dugan Playground renovation was made possible with $3.72 million from the Office of the Mayor and the City Council. 

“The Gerard P. Dugan Playground has served as a go-to recreational spot for generations of Staten Islanders,” said Congresswoman Nicole Malliotakis. “These critical renovations are long overdue and will allow New Dorp families to continue gathering at the playground for years to come.” 

“My office was honored to partake in yesterday’s ribbon cutting ceremony for the newly renovated Gerard P. Dugan playground,” said Assembly Member Michael Tannousis. “This playground housed in the heart of my district will bring joy to families for many years to come. I thank my colleagues in government for making this worthy investment and providing the necessary funds to make these renovations possible. The playground’s namesake, Gerard P. Dugan, would certainly be proud of this achievement.” 

“The Gerard P. Dugan Playground has been a staple for our youth for nearly a century on Staten Island,” said Council Member David Carr. “Now that the second phase of the renovation is completed, the New Dorp and Oakwood communities and beyond will be able to enjoy this transformed park. I am proud to have worked on this project as Chief of Staff to Minority Leader Steven Matteo, who secured the funding for the project. Thank you to Steve as well as the Parks Department for this great project.” 

“A recreational oasis for the communities of Oakwood and New Dorp, the Gerard P. Dugan Playground has benefited countless Staten Islanders since 1931. These new renovations, the first since 1997, ensure generations to come will play, grow, and enjoy this picturesque neighborhood park. Thanks to Commissioner Donoghue, Borough President Fossella, and Councilman Carr for working to ensure this renovation and investment in the health and well-being of the people of Staten Island,” said District Attorney Michael E. McMahon. 

The parkland was first acquired by Parks in 1931 and opened to the public under Parks Commissioner Robert Moses. In 1974, the playground was renovated and named for Gerard P. Dugan under a local law introduced by City Councilmember and later Borough President Anthony R. Gaeta. Dugan Playground was redesigned and renovated in 1997 under a $656,000 capital project funded by Borough President Guy Molinari, which provided new shrubbery, play equipment, paths, plantings, and accessibility elements. 

Gerard P. Dugan (1905-1973) was born in Brooklyn, New York. He served in the Marine Corps from 1923 to 1927. Dugan moved to Staten Island in 1935, where he became a dedicated community activist. He worked as a foreman for the Bethlehem Steel Company at the former Mariner’s Harbor shipyard until he retired in 1967. 

Dugan’s civic work included helping to organize the Oakwood Beach Resident Committee. He also served as President of the Oakwood Civic Association and as Chairman of the Hurricane Protection Committee. In 1973, Dugan received the Richmond County Borough President Award as well as the Achievement Award from the Civic Congress of Staten Island, on which he served as a delegate.