FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, March 12, 2020
NYC PARKS AND THE BATTERY CONSERVANCY BREAK GROUND ON $18.3 MILLION BATTERY PLAYSCAPE RECONSTRUCTION PROJECT
NYC Parks Commissioner Mitchell J. Silver, FAICP, today joined The Battery Conservancy President Warrie Price, Manhattan Deputy Borough President Matthew Washington, City Council Member Margaret Chin, Community Board 1 Vice Chair Tammy Meltzer, and community members to break ground on The Battery Playscape reconstruction project.
“The Battery Playscape will be one the largest and most resilient waterfront playgrounds in the city,” said Commissioner Silver. “As the final piece of The Battery Master Plan, this 1.5-acre playground will complete the decades-long process of developing The Battery into a model for sustainability and biodiversity. The design looks to the future, adapting the vulnerable area to the impacts of climate change while offering a creative play experience that connects children of all abilities with nature. We are so grateful to The Battery Conservancy for their leadership on this innovative project.”
Designed by BKSK Architects and Starr Whitehouse Landscape Architects and Planners, the project will reconstruct and expand the existing playground, transforming the area into an immersive experience that connects children of all abilities with nature. The upgrades to the 1.5-acre Playscape will make the park more resilient with sustainable materials, innovative water management strategies, and biodiversity through varied plant habitats.
“We are excited to begin construction on a unique nature-driven playground that marks the culmination of our 25-year campaign to revitalize and transform the historic Battery into a world renowned cultural destination,” said President and founder of The Battery Conservancy Warrie Price. “The Battery Playscape can change the way playgrounds are built and redefine their impact, transforming climate challenges into opportunities for creative play, learning, and the cultivation of the next generation of environmental stewards.”
"The Battery Playscape will combine engaging spaces for children with best-in-class sustainability measures to create a new type of playground, while tripling the size of this great resource for families and visitors in Lower Manhattan," said Holly Leicht, LMDC Chair and Executive Vice President of Real Estate at Empire State Development. "We are grateful to HUD for the funds that enabled LMDC to join with the Conservancy, MTA and New York City for this project, which honors the Battery's legacy as one of New York City's oldest continually-operating public spaces."
“A new playground is always cause for celebration,” said Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer. “The Battery Playscape promises to be an innovative, resilient ‘destination’ making The Battery even more special.”
“Through its creative and sustainable design, the Battery Playscape will transform our vibrant Lower Manhattan ecosystem into a living and breathing classroom for students and families. When working in harmony with the surrounding natural environment, New York City’s open spaces serve as a hub of scientific curiosity, independent thinking, and self-discovery for our young people, and I have no doubt that the Playscape’s unique elements – from an accessible tree house and simulated geographical zones – will tap into the imagination of a whole generation of future climate change activists,” said Council Member Margaret S. Chin.
“Since 9/11, Community District 1 has tripled its residential population and now has lots of families. So to have this treasure in our community is fantastic,” said Manhattan Community Board 1 Chair Anthony Notaro.
The Playscape’s design evokes five geographical zones created when water shapes land: Bluff, Marsh, Dune, Meadow, and Riverbed. Each of the zones features unique play elements such as massive granite slides; multilevel, interconnected playhouses, including an accessible treehouse; and an improv/puppet theater.
The $18.3 million project was funded by $9 million from Lower Manhattan Development Corporation, a $7.65 million MTA grant, $800,000 from Mayor Bill de Blasio, $500,000 from City Council Member Margaret Chin, and $350,000 from Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer.
The playground is located at the east end of The Battery, in the southernmost tip of Lower Manhattan. This project is the final piece in The Battery Masterplan, which has been the blueprint for the revitalization of the 25-acre waterfront park.