Renovated Hope Mount Garden reopens to cheers

Renovated Hope Mount Garden reopens to cheers
Bronx Parks Commissioner Rodriguez-Rosa (3rd from l) joined community leaders and NYC Parks members at the newly renovated Mount Hope Garden’s playground.
Photo by Malcolm Pinckney/NYC Parks

A long neglected Mount Hope playground has reopened just in time for the spring season.

NYC Parks Commissioner Mitchell Silver and Bronx Parks Commissioner Iris Rodriguez-Rosa joined Councilman Fernando Cabrera, Community Board 5 district manager Ken Brown, P.S. 279 students and residents on Wednesday, March 13 to cut the ribbon for a $5.1 million reconstruction of Mount Hope Garden.

The special occasion commemorated the first major renovation for Mount Hope Garden since NYC Parks acquired the .28-acre site in 1996.

Silver noted that for more than two decades Mount Hope Garden was underinvested and underserved.

“The added play amenities and landscape improvements make this park fun for our young parkgoers and those young at heart,” said Silver.

Located at Creston Avenue between East Burnside Avenue and East 179th Street, the revitalized park features new playground equipment for children ages 2 to 12-years-old, a swing set with an Americans with Disabilities Act accessible seat, spray showers, an accessible drinking fountain and new shaded seating areas complete with 1964 World’s Fair benches.

In addition, the retaining walls around the park’s perimeter were reconstructed and landscaping improvements were added.

Silver thanked Mayor de Blasio and Councilman Cabrera for making the reconstruction possible.

Mayor de Blasio allocated $4.1 million and Cabrera contributed an additional $1 million for the project.

Its reconstruction commenced on May 30, 2017 following a groundbreaking ceremony.

Cabrera said he was excited to play a role in the redevelopment of the former ‘NYC’s Worst Playground.’

“The transformation of this park is truly amazing,” expressed Cabrera.

The long-shuttered, square-parcel park reopened five years after it was closed due to safety and health concerns including a standing body of water in the middle of the park which attracted mosquitos.

The park’s closure occurred less than a year following a previous renovation. After just six months, sinkholes began developing in sections of the park which posed a safety risk for the community.

“The community is absolutely thrilled to have its park back,” said Brown.

Brown confirmed that local reaction for the renovated Mount Hope Garden has been positive.

Mount Hope Garden is located in Tremont which was largely farmland until 1841 when the New York and Harlem River Railroad opened a station that became the center of a village.

In the 1850s, Postmaster Hiram Tarbox named the village ‘Tremont’ after the three major hills in the area, Fairmount, Mount Eden and Mount Hope.

Tremont comprises several smaller neighborhoods including Claremont, Mount Eden and Mount Hope.

Mount Hope is centered on Tremont Avenue and borders East Burnside Avenue.

Burnside Avenue honors the Civil War general Ambrose E. Burnside, who lived from 1824 to 1881.

Burnside’s unique and extensive facial hair was the inspiration for the term ‘sideburns.’

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