WILLIAMSBURG, Brooklyn (PIX11) – New York City’s parks saw more foot traffic when the pandemic first hit as New Yorkers sought outdoor space to clear their minds outside. Recognizing this, the department will continue an initiative that upgrades local parks and over the next decade, 100 of them will be renovated.
Bartlett Playground in Williamsburg is the latest to undergo upgrades.
“To see this is something else,” Michael Matthews, a father, said. “It’s amazing.”
Matthews grew up in Williamsburg and used to go to Bartlett Playground as a kid. It’s a full-circle moment for him as he brought his son to enjoy the new amenities.
This renovation is part of the Community Parks Initiative, which was launched in 2014 to redesign and rebuild parks in high-density, low-income areas to create equity. The pandemic also highlights the need for park equity.
“In dense neighborhoods that were hardest hit by COVID, our parks became everybody’s sanctuaries,” NYC Parks Commissioner Sue Donoghue said. “They provided both physical as well as important mental health benefits.”
So far, 67 parks have been upgraded and with an additional $425 million dollars in mayoral funding, 10 parks will be restored every year for the next 10 years. This will transform the relationships residents have with their parks. Nearby resident Lawrence Doxen said that’s necessary.
“Especially with me, a retired transit worker, I gotta do something with my grandkids and they don’t like staying in the house,” Doxen said.
At Bartlett, some new upgrades include the basketball courts, adult fitness equipment, turf and sprinklers.
The parks department also announced the next 10 parks that will be getting worked on this upcoming year and they span the five boroughs. They include:
- Dawson Playground
- Jennie Jerome Playground
- Zimmerman Playground
- St. Andrew’s Playground
- Pena Herrera Playground
- Rolph Henry Playground
- Renaissance Playground
- St. Nicholas Playground South
- Frank O’Connor Playground
- Lt. Lia Playground
Kids in the neighborhood, like 10-year-old Leah, are happy about the changes.
“You get to meet new people and make other friends around the park,” she said.
With the 67 parks already upgraded and the 100 parks expected to be up rebuilt over the next 10 years, a total of 167 parks will be newly updated for New York City residents.