The Daily Plant : Tuesday, September 6, 2005
PARKS JOINS FAR ROCKAWAY COMMUNITY TO CELEBRATE NEW PLAYGROUND
On Wednesday, August 31, Parks & Recreation Commissioner Adrian Benepe joined Council Member James Sanders and District Manager of Community Board 14 Jonathan Gaska to cut the ribbon on the first phase of renovations at Westbourne Playground in Far Rockaway, Queens. The halfway mark of this two-phase project was also celebrated by children from Sorrentino Recreation Center, who sought relief from the heat by skipping through the new fountain, and joined the Commissioner and Council Member on the play equipment.
"Building safe, engaging playgrounds is one of the most important functions of Parks & Recreation," said Commissioner Benepe. "This facility will provide children of all ages with a place to learn, grow, and make friends for many years to come."
Council Member Sanders allocated $520,000 for this project, which included the installation of colorful new play equipment—one for children between 2 and 5 years old and another for 5-12 year-olds, safety surfacing, swings, and a spray shower. Pavement, fencing, benches, and picnic tables were reconstructed, while the comfort station was completely renovated with a new roof, doors, glass block, brick refacing, tile floors, fixtures, and partitions. New water service was also installed.
Sanders and Gaska both spoke about the importance of quality play equipment for Far Rockaway, a largely immigrant community from various countries of origin.
"This is the way kids should be," said Gaska, noting that adults could learn a lesson from the harmonious blend of children in the playground. "People of all shapes and sizes playing and working together."
Next year, Phase II of the property’s overhaul will begin, thanks to an additional $600,000 in funding by Council Member Sanders. This project will include new multi-purpose sports facilities, reconstructed basketball and handball courts, plantings, perimeter curb walls, and an accessible drinking fountain.
Westbourne Playground receives heavy use by both the Rockaway community and students from nearby P.S. 104.
QUOTATION FOR THE DAY
"The essence of immorality is the tendency to make an exception of myself."