A ribbon cutting was held for the $1.9 million renovation of Blackrock Playground in Soundview on Friday, May 10, capping off an overhaul that is part of the city’s Community Parks Initiative.
The new play area features new play equipment, swings, water spray and seating areas, and it was funded by the mayor’s office.
Students from nearby P.S. 119 and local residents should make ample use of it, said William Rivera, Community Board 9 district manager.
Rivera said that the community board had tremendous input with the NYC Parks Department on its design, and the board is anticipating the park’s renaming in memory of a woman who gave her life in service to her city.
After receiving unanimous board support, CB 9 drafted a letter dated Thursday May 9 to Mitchell Silver, NYC Parks Department commissioner, requesting that the park be named or co-named in honor of FDNY-EMT Yadira Arroyo, who on March 16, 2017 was tragically killed in the line of duty after being dragged and run over at Watson Avenue and White Plains Road, which is very close to Blackrock Playground.
Arroyo left behind five sons.
She was assigned to Station 26, where she would periodically feed the homeless in McKinley Square Park across the street from the station, according to several of her former co-workers, said Rivera, who was a FDNY-EMT for years.
“The community board believes that this proposal of esteem and recognition is the least we could do as a community for FDNY-EMT Yadiro Arroyo,” states the CB 9 letter to Silver, adding that “in March 2020, we hope to have the official naming of Yadira Arroyo Park as part of her third anniversary.”
Assemblywoman Karines Reyes supports the CB 9 request.
“EMT Yadira Arroyo was a true public servant who gave her life for this community,” stated Reyes in a Friday, May 10 letter, adding that Arroyo took care of those in need and as a registered nurse, the assemblywoman knows how important her job is and has immense respect for her sacrifice.”
Reyes added: “A very fitting tribute to her service and sacrifice would be renaming Blackrock Playground…in her honor.”
Rivera said that he is in the process of getting letters of support from the principal of P.S. 119 and the FDNY’s Hispanic Society.
“Every line of duty death is horrible, but this one especially touched the people in my district,” said Rivera.
As a they await a decision, children in the community have a new playground, which includes a water sprinkler area designed to link play areas for older and younger children, as well as new plantings and improved drainage and water supply systems.
“The transformation of Black Rock playground is incredible,” said Silver. “I recall the way it looked when we first broke ground, and I am thrilled to see how this space has been reconstructed and renewed for parkgoers of every generation to enjoy.”
NYC’s Community Parks Initiative is reinvesting in smaller public parks throughout the Bronx.