FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, June 02, 2021
21st CENTURY PARK SYSTEM: NYC PARKS CUTS RIBBON ON $11 MILLION RENOVATION OF THE BALLFIELDS AND BASKETBALL COURTS AT GENERAL DOUGLAS MACARTHUR PARK
MacArthur Park is one of more than 800 capital projects completed during Silver tenure—building a more equitable park system for all New Yorkers
NYC Parks Commissioner Mitchell J. Silver, FAICP, today joined Staten Island Borough President James Oddo, City Council Member Steven Matteo, Community Board 2 Parks Committee Chair Fred Guinta, and community members to officially cut the ribbon on the reconstructed ballfields and basketball courts at General Douglas MacArthur Park in Dongan Hills. This project is one of more than 800 projects completed under Commissioner Silver’s leadership, advancing the City’s mission to build a more equitable 21st century park system.
“Now more than ever, our young people need positive outlets like sports and outdoor recreation,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “I’m thrilled the new fields and basketball courts are opening at General MacArthur Park just in time for the Summer of New York City!”
“General MacArthur Park’s new fields and basketball courts will benefit so many young athletes. With these upgraded amenities, these recreational spaces are now better equipped to serve the surrounding communities for years to come,” said Commissioner Silver. “As Commissioner I’ve prioritized working to ensure that all New Yorkers have access to quality parks, and it’s outstanding to see these underused spaces transformed into community assets. We’re grateful to our partners across all levels of government for their generous contributions that made this transformation possible.”
"This is a day that will forever be ingrained in my memory as a celebration of both the past and the future as the lives of Staten Islanders are positively impacted by the assets we have at 'The Berry's.' I am thrilled to have invited former players to celebrate this moment, and see firsthand the renovated site that has come out of this collaboration," said Staten Island Borough President James Oddo. "This project is a true testament to the saying 'good things come to those who wait.' And wait we did. We all know how long we have waited to welcome people back to 'The Berry's,' and it was worth it. I thank our Borough Parks Commissioner Lynda Ricciardone and fellow elected officials for their tremendous efforts in making this happen."
"Those of us who have grew up playing ball under the lights at "The Berry's" know how popular these fields have been and also how badly they needed to be upgraded,” said Council Member Steven Matteo. The state-of-the-art renovations at the Berry's and the rest of MacArthur Park are going to be a real game changer for all of the residents in this area, and I am pleased to have contributed to the team effort to make this happen. Kudos to Borough President Oddo for his tenaciousness on this project and to Borough Commissioner Ricciardone for her commitment to completing it."
The project reconstructed and converted the multi-use ball fields from natural turf to a synthetic turf to better accommodate its heavily programmed use. The basketball courts were also fully reconstructed with new bleacher seating. Additionally, the revamped park now features improved lighting, chess tables, new adult fitness equipment, chess tables, and more welcoming park edges and entrances.
The $11 million project was funded by a $5.5 million allocation from Borough President Oddo, $4.5 million from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), $443,000 from City Council Member Matteo and $500,000 from Mayor Bill de Blasio.
Named after General Douglas MacArthur (1880-1964), this park was developed as part of the General Charles W. Berry Houses public housing project. The land encompassing the park and the General Charles W. Berry Houses was once occupied by the Richmond County Fair Grounds. In 1905, the Richmond County Fair moved to the fairgrounds after it was previously held in West New Brighton. The venue featured a grandstand, half-mile track, and 100-foot-long exhibition building specifically designed to host this annual event. It was replete with games, exhibitions, sporting events, and demonstrations. The fair ran until 1926 and was later revived in 1979 at Historic Richmond Town, where it is still held every year.
800+ COMPLETED CAPITAL PROJECTS
Under the leadership of Commissioner Silver, since 2014 NYC Parks has completed more than 800 capital projects across the five boroughs, advancing the City’s mission to build a more equitable park system for present and future generations. Under this administration, the agency has brought our park system into the 21st century, with guidelines focused on resiliency and access and leading with a data-driven approach to increasing park equity. Parks has also improved its capital process in order to take on more projects and complete them faster. Through these strategies, the agency has reimagined how we invest in parks across the city, including those in communities with the greatest need for open-space improvements that had not seen investment in decades. Parks’ 10-year capital budget is $5.2 billion—the completed projects over the past seven years represents a $1.96 billion investment.