March 13, 2022
Video available at: https://youtu.be/uBsIodgbVKU
417 Million Capital Investment for 100+ Projects Paused During COVID-19 Pandemic Will Move Into Construction This Spring
Projects Focus on Sustainability and Equity: 86 Percent of Projects Include Sustainable Features, 62 Percent Located in Underserved Neighborhoods
Mayor Adams, Commissioner Donoghue Break Ground on $2.2 Million Saratoga Playground Renovation on Brownsville/BedStuy Border
NEW YORK – New York City Mayor Eric Adams and New York City Department of Parks and Recreation Commissioner Sue Donoghue today announced that the city will break ground on 104, previously paused park projects this spring, an incredible 142 percent increase in parks construction projects compared to 2021. Mayor Adams and Commissioner Donoghue made the announcement at Saratoga Playground in Brownsville where the city broke ground on at $2.2 million full renovation of the playground.
“New York City’s parks aren’t luxuries, but necessities — playing a critical role building community and nurturing our physical, mental, and emotional health,” said Mayor Adams. “Parks can be the great equalizers, which is why every New Yorker, regardless of zip code or color, deserves access to a park. This $417 million investment to revitalize over 100 parks, playgrounds, and greenspaces is a major milestone in our recovery that will pay dividends for generations to come.”
“The pandemic lockdown proved just how important parks and open spaces are to all New Yorkers and we couldn’t be happier to move forward on more than $417 million in capital projects that update, improve, and rethink our parks and playgrounds for the community members who rely on them,” said Parks Commissioner Donoghue. “There’s no better place to make this announcement than Saratoga Park in Brooklyn, where we are completely upgrading a neighborhood playground that hasn’t seen major improvements in more than 20 years.”
“Like all New Yorkers, my family and I spend a great deal of time outdoors in our wonderful parks, especially in the last couple years where outdoor space was so necessary and welcome,” said NYCEDC President and CEO Andrew Kimball. “We commend Mayor Adams for this urgently needed capital investment to resume work in our parks that was disrupted during the pandemic – a crisis that showed us just how important open space is to the health of all of us. These 100 projects will enhance quality of life and strengthen neighborhoods equitably across the five boroughs as the city continues to recover.”
Previously on hold in procurement due to the COVID-19 pandemic-related construction pause, the 100+ park improvement projects, set to start this spring, represent more than $417 million in investments, making the city’s public green spaces more sustainable, accessible, and vibrant.
More than 86 percent of these projects include sustainability features such as LED lighting, rain gardens, planting of new trees, on-site stormwater capture, and use of recycled and resilient materials. Additionally, 62 percent of projects are in underserved neighborhoods as identified by the Task Force on Racial Inclusion & Equity. These projects are expected to take 12-18 months to complete; New Yorkers will be able to enjoy 100 newly renovated park projects in their neighborhoods by summer 2023.
Mayor Adams and Commissioner Donahue made today’s announcement at Saratoga Park Playground in Brooklyn. Saratoga Park is a treasured community park on the border of Brownsville and Bedford Stuyvesant. It is the second largest park in the historic neighborhood and features a bronze and pink granite memorial to the people of the community who gave their lives in World War I. The playground is currently under construction and will soon boast new play equipment, including swings, a spray shower, a tot play area, ground games, new lighting, and the restoration of the surrounding lawn. The $2.183 million project is funded by the City Council and is expected to be complete by spring 2023.
“As the warm weather approaches, I applaud Mayor Adams for calling on the city to resume renovations on our park spaces throughout the city,” said New York State Senator Kevin Parker. “It is important that we provide safe, green space options in inner city communities for our youth and their families to enjoy during the spring and summer months.”
“I am looking forward to the completion of Loreto Park and the other parks in my district,” said New York State Assemblymember Michael R. Benedetto. “I’m especially pleased that the Ferry Point Park 9/11 Living Memorial Flagpole construction will start this spring. For years I’ve called attention to this solemn memorial dedicated to the victims of September 11, gifted by the prince of Monaco. Situated at the park’s highest elevation, it affords visitors an astonishing, unobstructed view of lower Manhattan. I congratulate the Adams administration for prioritizing the flagpole project.”
“As someone whose district is blessed with the beautiful 500-acre Forest Park, I treasure our green space,” said New York State Assemblymember Jenifer Rajkumar. “Parks clean the air we breathe, foster our mental and physical health, and bring together everyone to enjoy nature. They are the ultimate egalitarian public benefit, serving people of every background. Mayor Adams knows that all New Yorkers, including those in underserved areas of the city like mine, deserve access to a world class park and his latest initiative will provide exactly that.”
“The COVID-19 pandemic exposed countless disparities in our society, among them being access to state-of-the-art parks and greenspace that all families deserve to enjoy right in their own neighborhood, regardless of zip code,” said Queens Borough President Donovan Richards Jr. “I look forward to a spring full of shovels in the dirt across Queens, as we broaden our network of sustainable spaces of recreation and relaxation for all our families, especially those in historically underserved communities."
“Two years now into this pandemic, New Yorkers have seen how parks, playgrounds, and public spaces can revive and restore our communities,” said New York City Councilmember Shekar Krishnan. “We must build more parks, plant more trees, and do so more quickly than ever before. Breaking ground on more than 100 new park projects this spring is a great start and I'm excited to work with the mayor on this effort.”
“This initiative is another sign that our mayor is committed pushing through the pandemic as we move forward with plans for a greener, more sustainable New York City by continuing projects in our parks,” said New York City Councilmember Joann Ariola. “New York City parks are an integral part of our communities.”
“Parks are the lifeblood of our communities. As an elected official for many years, I have worked with the Parks Department to allocate resources to parks, plazas, playgrounds, ball fields, skate parks, bandshells, and bathrooms,” said New York City Councilmember Gale A. Brewer. “The pandemic showed us how important open space is to New Yorkers and that we not only need more parks but need to be sure they are distributed equitably. I thank the Adams administration for making a commitment to build, renovate, and sustain more parks in all neighborhoods but particularly where green space needs to exist and be vibrant.”
“We must move on as a city and fulfill the commitments we made to our constituents,” said New York City Councilmember Robert Holden. “I commend Mayor Adams on restarting projects that were paused during the pandemic and moving this city forward.”
“Now more than ever, New Yorkers are relying on their parks as sanctuaries for retreat and renewal," said Assembly Member Rebecca Seawright of the Upper East Side, Yorkville, and Roosevelt Island. "New trees, benches, railings, and plantings coming to the East River Esplanade in May are the fruits of a major stabilization and preservation program for this vital outdoor retreat and community treasure," Seawright said. “The community eagerly anticipates the completion of the first phase of the restoration in the Andrew Green Park Public, safety enhancements for Carl Schurz Park, and new sitting areas for John Jay Park.”