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P.O. Reinaldo Salgado Playground

The Daily Plant : Wednesday, May 19, 2004

REI’S OLD TURF GETS MAKEOVER


On Friday, May 14, a spiffed-up Police Officer Reinaldo Salgado Playground was revealed to the public. Parks & Recreation installed a new backstop, new fencing, security lighting, pavements and sidewalks, and a highly durable synthetic turf field. Playing surfaces have been revolutionized across the city with the opening of dozens of synthetic turf fields. Synthetic turf fields play better, last longer, and are less expensive to maintain.

Located in the neighborhood of Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, next to P.S. 309, Reinaldo Salgado Playground was re-named in August 1997 for Police Officer Reinaldo Salgado of the 81st Precinct. (The playground was formerly called Patchen Playground.) Known affectionately in the neighborhood as "Rei", Officer Salgado died of leukemia at the age of 41 on April 14, 1997.

The youngest of ten children, Salgado was born on January 6, 1956 in Manati, Puerto Rico. He was raised in the South Bronx and attended Cardinal Hayes High School and the State University of New York at Buffalo. In May 1977, Salgado graduated with a B.A. in Speech Communication, the first in his family to complete college. Like two of his brothers before him, Rei chose a career in the Police Department. He graduated from the Police Academy in January 1981.

In July 1988, Salgado was assigned to the 84th Precinct on Gold Street in Brooklyn. He worked in several areas there, including Recruitment and Applicant Investigation. In April 1994, he moved to the 81st Precinct, located at the corner of Gates and Ralph Avenues, and became a youth officer.

Rei was known for his active role in the 81st Precinct’s youth athletic programs, getting kids of all ages involved with sports. As a youth officer, he was a role model, counselor, mentor, and friend to more than 600 neighborhood children. In turn, his support of youth athletic programs helped breathe new life into the park.

At the ribbon cutting were Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz, City Council Member Tracy Boyland, State Senators Velmanette Montgomery and John Sampson, Parks & Recreation Commissioner Adrian Benepe, Parks & Recreation Brooklyn Borough Commissioner Julius Spiegel, NYPD Borough Commander of Brooklyn North Chief Joe Cunneen, and other representatives from the NYPD. A number of relatives of the late Reinaldo Salgado also attended, including two of his brothers, Luis A. Salgado and Jose Salgado, Jr., both of whom spoke at the event.

"On behalf of my father and Rei, thank you to Mayor Bloomberg and everyone involved. We thank you and love you," said Jose Salgado Jr. "We know this park will carry on Rei's memory through the people of Brooklyn and the children of Brooklyn."

Commissioner Benepe, Council Member Tracy Boyland, and Chief Cunneen, threw the first pitches after the ribbon was cut. In keeping with the baseball theme, guests received cracker jacks and peanuts.

The total budget for the project was $1.15 million. Council Member Boyland allocated $950,000 for the field, and Borough President Markowitz provided the $200,000 desperately needed to finish the project. Parks & Recreation Designer Dennis Flynn and Landscape Architect Randee Stewart designed the new field, and Resident Engineer Roberto Bonilla oversaw the construction.

QUOTATION FOR THE DAY

Men ever had, and ever will have leave,
To coin new words well suited to the age,
Words are like Leaves, some wither every year,
And every year a younger Race succeeds.

Horace, poet and satirist
(65-8 BCE)

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