The first day of spring signifies many things. New beginnings, new life, and warmer weather.
Although the first day of spring this year felt more like the return of winter, it did not deter the Longwood community from coming out to witness the official reopening of a once-neglected neighborhood park.
On Tuesday, March 20, the community, representatives from the NYC Parks Department, and local leaders came together to cut the ribbon on the revitalized Lyons Square Park.
Children christened the new playground with screams of joy, the beautiful sounds of playtime and running feet hitting the refurbished pavement.
What was once a rundown facility became a thriving, brightly colored, welcoming park for everyone to use.
“We believe all New Yorkers deserve a park to call their home regardless of where they live,” said NYC Parks commissioner Mitchell Silver.
The park sits just off the Sheridan and Bruckner expressways across the street from P.S. 75 within Community Board 2.
More than $7 million was invested into the facility’s renovations.
Lyons Square Park now includes brand new basketball courts, a ping pong table, new spray showers for the summertime, ADA accessible play equipment, fitness equipment, and even a new picnic area to name a few of the improvements.
In order to improve safety and security, park lighting and surveillance cameras were also added.
The cameras are not fully functional yet, but the Parks Department promised they would be up and running soon.
One of the final touches being introduced is a new comfort station, which Commissioner Silver said would be completed during the summer.
“The re-opening of Lyons Square Park is a testament of our commitment to creating access to beautiful parks and green spaces for our community to enjoy for years to come,” said Councilman Rafael Salamanca, who mentioned he grew up two blocks away from the park and played basketball and rollerbladed around the playground as a child.
“To see the changes in this park as I’ve grown in this community is really awesome,” said Salamanca.
Lyons Square Park was not the only park to have the ribbon cut on their renovations on this day.
Lyons was actually one of five parks citywide that received mass renovations that cost a total of about $24 million in funding to complete.
The project is part of Mayor de Blasio’s Community Parks Initiative to create more inclusive and equitable park systems.
Lyons Square Park is not the only one within CB2 to receive renovations, according to Salamanca, who said there will be a total of five parks, within this community board alone, getting much needed upgrades.
The Parks Department also partnered with the NYC Department of Environmental Protection to work on adding almost $600,000 worth of green infrastructure to Lyons, such a new rastorm water collection system, according to the managing director of the Office of Ecosystem Services, Green Infrastructure and Research for NYC DEP John McLaughlin.