The $3.5 million makeover, completed ahead of schedule, makes Van Alst the first neighborhood playground to be completed under the city’s Community Parks Initiative.
“When I started as Parks Commissioner, the mayor tasked me with creating a fair and balanced park system for our city,” said Commissioner Mitchell Silver. “It is a great occasion today to cut the ribbon on the first of many park improvements coming to high-needs neighborhoods, where open space plays a critical role in community development.”
Mayor Bill de Blasio announced in October 2014 that 35 sites across the city will receive funding under the initiative. Nearly all of the sites are now under construction, according to park officials, with more expected to reopen this summer and fall.
Parks officials said an additional 11 sites will be added under the initiative later this year.
“Improving our parks help improve entire neighborhoods,” said Councilman Costa Constantinides. “Families near Van Alst Playground and PS 171 students will soon be able to enjoy a renovated green space.”
The Department of Environment Protection (DEP) also contributed $500,000 to the project to incorporate green infrastructure improvements.
“We are always looking for ways in which we can reduce the water that enters our sewer system to help mitigate the risk of CSO’s, and we were able to do just that with this project at Van Alst,” said DEP Commissioner Vincent Sapienza. “The newly installed green infrastructure at this playground will help to reduce stormwater runoff, improve the health of the surrounding waterways and beautify the neighborhood.”
Other features of the playground include a multipurpose area for sports, new play equipment and spray showers. Parks also reconstructed the existing handball courts, added an adult fitness area and installed light poles.