People of all ages gained access to a newly rebuilt oasis with the finishing of a major improvement at a Soundview park.
Dignitaries from across the borough cut a ribbon on Monday, July 10 to celebrate $1.5 million in improvements at Parque De Los Ninos’ playground and basketball court along the park’s southern border.
The work included new play equipment for children ages 2 to 12, a spray shower, safety surfacing, plantings, seating area with 1964 World’s Fair replica benches, drinking fountain and fencing.
The project is Phase 1 of a two-part rehabilitation in the park, with Phase 2 expected to kick off in the fall and include rebuilding of the park’s ballfields and the addition of a running track around much of the greenspace’s perimeter, sources said.
Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr., said that between the two phases, his office will fund $3,496,000 for improvements in the park.
“This is one of those that has a special place in my heart,” said the borough president, adding he and his brother used to play league baseball on the two fields and that that his father, Senator Ruben Diaz Sr., used to reward them for their fine play with hot dogs on many occasions.
He and his brother were on championship baseball teams in the early 1980s, said Diaz.
“All we want is for the kids to enjoy themselves and create memories,” said Diaz, adding “Taking care of our parks and investing in them is something that is incumbent on elected officials.”
Having green spaces and parks are complementary to all of the other development taking place, said Diaz.
The borough president also thanked another elected official, Councilwoman Annabel Palma, for allocating millions of dollars of her own funds for the rebuilding of the park.
Diaz and Palma will fund Phase 2, according to NYC Parks Department.
“Parque De Los Ninos playground is a beacon of hope, emblematic of the Bronx’s promising future as a borough,” said Palma. “The de Blasio administration, Parks Department’s leadership, and our Bronx borough president have taken great strides to ensure the timely completion of this project.”
The councilwoman said that playground is a direct investment in the community, and that she is thankful that local families have a safe-space for recreation.
Phase 1 was completed with $156,000 from the mayor’s office, according to Parks Department.
The renovation comes as a breath of fresh air for the Soundview community, said Assemblyman Marcos Crespo.
“Our kids and the Bronx overall deserve quality environments, and I am proud to know that this million dollar improvement will bring about just that,” said Crespo.
Community Board 9’s district manager, William Rivera, said that his board works hand-in-hand with elected officials and organizations like Partnership with Parks on greenspaces throughout the district.
“Speaking to the residents at the groundbreaking, they were very happy about the amount money being put in by the city and the NYC Parks Department for parks infrastructure,” said Rivera.