Waring Playground to get $3.6 million face lift

(l-r) Borough President Diaz, Senator Klein, Councilman Torres and Anthony Vitaliano presented two hefty ceremonial checks for Waring Playground’s renovation.
Photo by Aracelis Batista

Renovations are planned for a 77-year-old Allerton playground.

On Tuesday, August 8, Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr.; Senator Jeff Klein and Councilman Ritchie Torres joined Bronx Parks Commissioner Iris Rodriguez-Rosa at Waring Playground to announce the joint allocation of $3.6 million to reconstruct portions of the park.

“Our city parks are valuable assets to the community and the residents we serve deserve a clean, safe and modernized recreational space to gather with friends and families,” expressed Klein.

Commissioner Rodriguez-Rosa is excited for Waring Playground’s renovation.

“We can’t wait to start transforming this playground into a space the Allerton community deserves,” she shared.

Rodriguez-Rosa noted the NYC Parks Department will design the 0.62 acre playground with residents’ input ensuring it fulfills their vision.

This year, Diaz will allocate approximately $10 million to nine borough parks including Waring Playground, Seton Park, Kossuth Playground, Starlight Park, Woodlawn Playground, Owen Dolen Recreation Center, Bronx Children’s Museum, Highbridge Park Step Street and the Harlem River Greenway Promenade.

“As we work to build a healthier Bronx through our ‘#Not62’ campaign, we must make sure that our shared recreational spaces are in good condition and inviting to the public so that more and more Bronxites of all ages will take advantage of them,” said Diaz.

“The residents have waited far too long for renovations to Waring Playground to get underway,” said Torres. “We are proud to announce that through our joint collaboration financial resources have been allocated so that the playground and basketball courts can get necessary upgrades.”

While the project hasn’t been officially scoped, some potential improvements include new playground equipment, new safety surfacing throughout the playground, new benches, an improved spray shower area and improved landscaping.

A Parks spokeswoman said a fall 2017 community scope meeting will engage residents on what improvements they would prefer at Waring Playground. A specific date hasn’t been determined.

The project’s progress is viewable via Parks’ Capital Project Tracker at www.nycgovparks.org/planning-and-building/capital-project-tracker. Waring Playground is under the Proposed Projects tab as projects don’t officially begin until Parks holds a scope meeting.

“When I attended the ceremony last Tuesday at Waring Playground, I noticed how beaten up the park was,” said Anthony Vitaliano, Community Board 11 chairman. “Anything that can help improve this playground, I’m for it.”

Waring Playground and Waring Avenue are named for Robert Payne Waring’s daughter, Maria Waring who was a local landowner between 1859 and 1872.

The playground, located in Bronx Park at the corner of Bronx Park East and Waring Avenue, occupies an area bordering the former Pierre Lorillard and Company’s snuff mill.

The mill opened in 1792 and produced more tobacco and snuff than any other American factory in the late 1800s.

The company relocated to New Jersey in 1870 and Parks acquired the building in 1937 to utilize as a restaurant for the New York Botanical Garden.

Opening on September 28, 1939, Waring Playground was one of many playgrounds constructed during NYC Parks Commissioner Robert Moses’ tenure from 1934 to 1960.

Bronx Park East Community Association members and youth joined local elected officials, community leaders and Bronx Parks Commissioner Rodriguez-Rosa (back, 4th from l) for the red letter day.
Photo by Aracelis Batista

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