Former New York Knicks superstar John Starks was on hand to celebrate more than $1.7 million in improvements to the basketball courts and play area of Sedgwick Playground on Wednesday, July 8.
The park, with its main entrance on the corner of University Avenue and the Cross Bronx Expressway has undergone six months of extensive renovations, which are almost complete.
Improvements to the park include hundreds of new shrubs and trees, as well as a newly resurfaced 60-foot junior basketball court and playground with adventure equipment, spray shower, and swings. After a ribbon cutting with elected officials and Parks commissioner Benepe, the NY Knicks held a basketball clinic with youth in the park.
“New handball courts, playground equipment, swings, and a spray shower will give kids in the community even more opportunities to play outside and stay fit this summer,” Benepe said. “After today’s clinic with the New York Knicks, kids can continue to practice their basketball skills at the Sedgwick Playground thanks to renovated courts rebuilt by the Courts of Dreams Foundation.”
Courts of Dreams donated more than $30,000 for the rebuilding of the basketball court and to pay for a summer Parks attendant to keep the it in tip-top condition.
“We are so delighted to work with Commissioner Benepe and the Department of Parks and Recreation to help create access to safe, beautiful basketball courts,” said Natasha Cornstein, Courts of Dream Foundation.
$1.7 million, most of the money for the renovation of the playground, came from the Department of Environmental Protection’s Croton Mitigations Funds. $220 million were made available for Bronx parks in exchange for the construction of a water-filtration plant under part of Van Cortlandt Park.
Councilwoman Helen Foster said that the park should be comparable to that of any other neighborhood in the city, and that it was a pleasure to help work with Parks and make the renovation possible.
Deputy Borough President Aurelia Greene was also on hand, and said that the park was beautiful and that it needed to remain safe and clean in order to be a community resource.
“Community Board 5, where this park is located, has the highest population in the city requiring parks,” Greene said in her speech before the ribbon cutting. “I am so glad to see it restored. All of you are going to enjoy this park, and we are also going to keep it clean.”
Starks told the children that the ability to play in open spaces was integral to his development as a person when he was growing up in Oklahoma, and that he hoped the park afforded the neighborhood access to quality recreation.