Renovated Little Claremont Playground reopens

Renovated Little Claremont Playground reopens|Renovated Little Claremont Playground reopens
(l-r) PEP officer C. Guzman; Desiree Machicote; Bronx Parks Commissioner Rodriguez-Rosa; Councilwoman Gibson; NYC Parks Commissioner Silver; Effie Ardizzone; Lucia Orduz-Castillo, P.S. 42 principal and PEP officer Edmondson were eager to cut the ribbon.
Photo by Veronica Feliciano

A popular Claremont park has reopened just in time for the spring season.

NYC Parks Commissioner Mitchell Silver, Bronx Parks Commissioner Iris Rodriguez-Rosa, Councilwoman Vanessa Gibson, NYC Department of Environmental Protections Bronx Borough Community Liaison Eleftheria Ardizzone, P.S. 42 students and staff and residents joined in commemorating the grand reopening of the newly renovated Little Claremont Playground on Wednesday, February 27.

A Community Parks Initiative site, the .55 acre playground’s reconstruction was funded with $3.7 million from Mayor de Blasio and DEP.

The park’s reconstruction commenced on August 29, 2017 following a groundbreaking ceremony.

Through CPI, the city is investing $318 million in capital dollars to renovate 67 citywide parks which have not undergone significant improvements in decades.

“The transformation of Little Claremont Playground is an incredibly important improvement for this community and especially for the students and staff at P.S. 42 who use this space so frequently,” expressed Silver.

Its new amenities include play equipment for children ages 5 to 12-years-old, a water play area with in-ground features and spray posts, a multi-purpose synthetic turf field, an outdoor classroom with a stage and landscape enhancements and an improved community garden.

Silver added that these new amenities make Little Claremont Playground the perfect destination for local youth to play, discover, learn and be physically active.

DEP has partnered with Parks to provide green infrastructure which will capture storm water runoff.

DEP Commissioner Vincent Sapienza explained that the park’s newly installed rain gardens, permeable pavement and synthetic turf field will aid in reducing stormwater runoff by 1.5 million gallons annually, improve the Bronx Kill and Harlem River’s health and beautify the neighborhood.

“This new open space will promote recreation, health and wellness to the Claremont community and I am thankful for this commitment to enhance open spaces for our children, seniors and families and I look forward to more investments in our parks across the community,” stated Gibson.

The park was once part of the old Morris family estate established in 1679.

Encompassed by Claremont Parkway between Park and Washington avenues, Little Claremont Playground has a rich history with nearby P.S. 42.

According to Desiree Machicote, P.S. 42 Garden and Sustainability coordinator and science teacher, P.S. 42 and St. Paul’s Church volunteers revitalized the former vacant lot serving as a garbage dump into a vibrant GreenThumb Garden in May 1994.

Every May, P.S. 42 hosts an Earth Day celebration at the park for students to engage in hands-on lessons inside the garden where they learn proper planting techniques and observe local wildlife.

Throughout the years, students enjoyed planting marigolds, geraniums and pansies and harvesting cherries, peaches, zucchinis and pumpkins from the garden.

The garden has hosted the Daffodil Project and Butterfly Project NYC.

Machicote and several volunteers plan to reintroduce fruits and vegetables to the new community garden.

Artist rendering depicting Little Claremont Park’s Community Garden and Play Area.
Photo by Veronica Feliciano

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