Groundbreaking ceremony held at Whalen Park

Silver, Cohen, Walker-Santiago, Rodriguez-Rosa, Stronczer and others during the groundbreaking ceremony.
Photo courtesy of Daniel Avila, NYC Parks

A new park renovation won’t just attract more people – it will revitalize the entire block.

Last week, a groundbreaking ceremony was held at Whalen Park to start the process.

Whalen Park, located on East 205th Street and Perry Avenue, will undergo renovations including the installation of side tables, bench and companion seating, game tables, drinking fountains, recycling and trash receptacles, a bicycle rack, an arch bridge, ground level play panels, spray shower equipment, a playhouse, climbing rocks, a climber for children, ages 2 to 5, as well as improved lighting.

Another key addition, once renovations are complete, will be the park’s story time corner – which goes hand-in-hand with the fact that the NYPL’s Mosholu branch is located next to the park.

“I am a huge proponent of finding space for kids to play and have fun in a safe environment that allows them to get exercise and run around like I used to do when I was a child,” said Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr. “The earlier you establish healthy habits, the easier those habits carry over into your adulthood. That’s why building playgrounds, such as Whalen Park, is a priority.”

Diaz also mentioned the collaborative effort of the #Not62 campaign, which was started in response to the Bronx being ranked 62 out of New York state’s 62 counties in the Robert Wood Johnson County Health Ranking Report in 2014 and promotes healthy lifestyles among Bronx residents.

“(Whalen Park), which is such a critical resource for this community, will be completely transformed once these renovations are finished – it will not even look like the same park,” said NYC Parks Commissioner Mitchell J. Silver.

“Parks are such an important part of community life in the Bronx – and I’m glad that I am involved in a project that makes sure our parks get the upkeep they need and continue to grow,” said Councilman Andrew Cohen.

Rendering of Whalen Park, upon completion.
Photo courtesy of Daniel Avila, NYC Parks

The groundbreaking ceremony was also attended by deputy borough president Aurelia Green, Bronx Parks commissioner Iris Rodriguez-Rosa, Community Board 7 parks chair Barbara Stronczer and CB7 chairwoman Adeline Walker-Santiago, as well as seniors from the nearby St. James and Williamsbridge Oval Recreation centers.

“I am thrilled that renovations are underway at Whalen Park – and I can’t wait until it reopens,” said Walker-Santiago, who recalls taking her children to the very same park when they were younger.

Walker-Santiago said that she has been connected with the NYPL’s Mosholu branch since the process began, and, according to Adeline, the library can visualize children checking out books and reading them in the park – which would not only promote health but also education.

The mayor’s office, BP Diaz and the New York City Council funded nearly $1.8 million for the renovations of this park.

The park was named after local veterans’ advocate Henry A. Whelan, who lived near the park and served in Europe, Africa and the Middle East during World War II.

Whalen Park is also the location of the D train’s 205th Street station and is located within walking distance from two other parks, the Mosholu Parkway and the Williamsbridge Oval.

The park renovations are expected to be completed by June 2018.

Photo courtesy of Daniel Avila, NYC Parks

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