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Watson Gleason Playground

The Daily Plant : Monday, August 3, 2009

Parks Celebrates Improvements to Watson Gleason Playground

Watson Gleason Playground
Photo by Malcolm Pinckney

On July 22, Parks & Recreation Commissioner Adrian Benepe joined Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr., Assembly Members Marcos Crespo and Peter Rivera, Council Member Annabel Palma and Community Board 9 District Manager Francisco M. Gonzalez to cut the ribbon on Watson Gleason Playground’s new state-of-the-art synthetic turf.

“Thanks to $2 million allocated by Assembly Member Rivera and Mayor Bloomberg, children and adults can participate in a wider range of activities at Watson Gleason Playground,” said Commissioner Adrian Benepe. “Replacing a degraded asphalt yard with a synthetic turf field, and adding benches and a water fountain will encourage the community to stay fit this summer by providing them better facilities to meet their interests. Sports enthusiasts can now enjoy cricket, field hockey, soccer and more on the new field at Watson Gleason Playground thanks to the ongoing support of our elected officials.”

The $2 million project was made possible by an allocation of $475,000 by Assembly Member Rivera as well as funding from Mayor Bloomberg through the PlaNYC Asphalt to Turf Initiative. The project includes a new synthetic multipurpose turf field, curb and pavement improvements along with newly added fencing, benches, a water fountain and plantings.

The project is part of the PlaNYC Asphalt to Turf Initiative to meet the recreational demands of our growing population. The new synthetic turf can host a greater range of games, including contact sports, and requires less overall use of lawn mowers and pesticides. It can also handle more intensive usage than the original asphalt field.

Watson Gleason Playground is the first PlaNYC field to be completed citywide. There are twenty more fields that will undergo a similar transformation under PlaNYC. They are part of PlaNYC’s ambitious goal to turn New York into America’s first sustainable city. Parks is working with the resources provided by PlaNYC to create new green space within the city’s urban landscape.

In 1938 the City of New York acquired the entire block bounded by Watson, Noble, Gleason, and Rosedale Avenues. Designed by the Parks Department and built with labor provided by the Work Projects Administration (WPA), the playground opened less than two years later. Watson Gleason Playground was named for two local landowners William Watson and Joseph Gleason.


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