Community members and borough officials gathered on Thursday, November 17 to break ground on the renovation of two parks, Seabury and Lyons parks.
The Seabury Park green space was a popular hangout for children at the neighboring East Bronx Academy for the Future.
However, it had been in disrepair for years.
“We’re doing this for you,” NYC Parks Commissioner Mitchell J. Silver said to some of the East Bronx Academy students who attended the groundbreaking.
The changes to the park will include a new basketball court – with a color seal coating – and two basketball hoops at the back of the park.
In addition there will be new lighting, picnic tables, benches, volleyball posts, and permeable pavers.
John Dudley, district manager for Community Board 3, was extremely pleased with the upcoming renovations.
“It gives them a sense of hope,” Dudley said of the effect the upgrades will have on the community.
“It’s almost like if you get neglected to the point you don’t receive anything as a child…there’s a sense of despair,” he continued. “So in a very real way the children that will be connected to this park will understand that despair does not always last.”
Chris Acosta, the park manager at Seabury Park, said the renovations will be a big deal for the school next door, especially because of how the park used to look.
According to Acosta, most of the park was unusable for the children who came to play there.
He said the students could only play with one basketball hoop near the entrance of the park.
Acosta added that the ground was shifting, there were divots and also debris in the park.
Acosta said his staff had to do multiple fixes to the park over many years.
“Now we finally have this,” he said of the new project. “We hope that this project finishes on time and we hope that the school and its students get the best use out of it.”
The $833,000 in upgrades at Seabury park are apart of the larger Community Parks Initiative initiative from the city officials to fix parks which have been neglected throughout New York City.
Seabury Park, for example, had not received sufficient attention from the city in 27 years.
Mayor de Blasio allocated $285 million for the Parks Department to fix these parks.
Earlier in the day, city officials and community members also broke ground at Lyons Playground in Hunts Point.
Lyons Playground will receive, $7,400,000 worth of renovations.
The fixes include reconstruction of the playground and multi-use area at the site as well as a new comfort station.
In addition there will be ADA-accessible play equipment, a spray shower, basketball courts, park lighting, a picnic area, ping pong tables, and fitness equipment.
“Lyons Playground in Hunts Point/Longwood had been neglected for far too long leaving local children and families with little access to safe and fun public spaces to build memories around,” said Assemblyman Marcos A. Crespo. “These much needed improvements yet again prove our commitment to all residents and the potential of the many beautiful open spaces in our great borough.”
The renovations at Seabury park are expected to be finished by fall 2017 while Lyons Playground is supposed to be completed by early 2018.