Thanks to a city-wide initiative, renovations have begun at a Mott Haven Park.
On Tuesday, May 23, a ground breaking ceremony officially marked the start of the renovation process for Ranaqua Park.
The new design of Ranaqua Park includes play equipment for children (ages 2-12), swings, new lighting, a new seating area, spray showers; drinking fountains, game tables and a bike rack. The synthetic turf field, along with the playground area, will be completely reconstructed.
“We (Community Board 1) are very pleased that the Parks Department is moving forward with this initiative,” said Cedric Loftin, the board’s district manager. “We’re glad that all of the residents of this neighborhood will be able to utilize this park in its magnificent scope.”
The groundbreaking ceremony was also attended by NYC Parks Commissioner Mitchell Silver, Deputy Mayor Alicia Glen, Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, as well as second graders from the the nearby Mott Haven Academy Charter School.
“The improvements of this park will have an enormously positive impact on the community as a whole,” said Mary Bellini, Mott Haven Academy Charter School’s director of external affairs. “I think it will be a big boost for our students and I hope it will be a symbol of leadership for this neighborhood.
Bellini, who explained that the school will be adding a middle school grade each year for the next three years, beginning his fall, said that the renovation will greatly benefit the students, as the school, located a block away on 170 Brown Place, will continue to use the park on a regular basis when construction is completed.
The renovation of Ranaqua Park, located on East 136th Street between Willis Avenue and Brown Place, is part of the Community Parks Initiative, which was launched in fall 2014 and is currently investing $318 million in capital dollars through 2019 to renovate more than 60 NYC parks that are in need of significant improvements.
The initiative targets investments in parks located in densely populated and growing neighborhoods where concentrations of poverty are higher than average.
Ranaqua Park received a total of $3.5 million in Community Parks Initiative funding.
Along with Ranaqua Park, other Community Parks Initiative park sites in the Bronx include Black Rock Playground, Hunts Point Playground, Little Claremont Park, Longfellow Garden, Lyons Square Playground, Melrose Commons Site 32, Ogden Plimpton Playground, Playground 52, Saw Mill Playground, Seabury Park and Walton Park.
The park’s renovation is expected to be completed by December.