Hearing set to discuss Colucci Playground upgrades

Councilman James Vacca and NYC Parks and Recreation Officials break ground on renovations at Colucci Park in 2016. The newest renovations planned include an adult fitness trail to be discussed at a meeting March 20.
Silvio Pacifico

Colucci Playground in Pelham Bay, located just off of the Hutchinson River Parkway, is getting additional upgrades aimed at active adults.

A public discussion on a planned new adult fitness area is scheduled for Monday, March 20 at 6 p.m. in the community room of the Hutchinson Parkway Apartments, located at 1950 Hutchinson River Parkway east.

The scoping meeting will discuss that addition and other possible improvements, including adding protective flooring to the play area, said Community Board 10 president Martin Prince.

“It’s going to be more than exercise equipment, they are also planning to modernize the play area, too, he said.

The park also contains a baseball field and basketball, tennis, bocce and handball courts.

The Hutch Greenway, a popular paved bicycle path, is located nearby.

The playground is currently undergoing a $800,000 facelift that included a new spray shower for children, fences, benches, chess and game tables, bicycle racks and a new handicap-accessible drinking fountain.

That project is scheduled to be completed in August, according to the parks department.

Councilman James Vacca funded the project though his city-allocated budget.

“They have to be upgraded every few years because playground equipment becomes worn, and you want the most modern equipment,” he said.

Vacca’s office is funding the new fitness apparatus, the third of its type in his district.

“They are there to encourage people to work out and to move,” Vacca said. “I think exercise is important today to people of any age and outdoor activity should be encouraged” It’s a great addition because it’s totally new.”

The playground is named for Vacca’s aunt, Florence Colucci, who was an active community member until her passing in 1982.

Colucci founded the Pelham Bay Taxpayers and Civic Association and ran a local newspaper, the News Sentinel in the ‘70s.

There has been some minor crime at the park in recent years, including a cellphone robbery in 2011 and a stabbing of a 21-year-old man in 2015, but Prince said there had been no recent incidents he could think of.

“The most the park has had is a homeless person camping out, but we’ve been pretty pro-active with the BronxWorks counselors to get them moved elsewhere, as we do with Pelham Bay Park,” Prince said.

Reach Reporter Arthur Cusano at (718) 742–4584. E-mail him at acusano@cnglocal.com. Follow him on Twitter @arthurcusano.

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