NYC PARKS BREAKS GROUND ON $3.5 MILLION RESTORATION OF LONGFELLOW GARDENSNYC PARKS BREAKS GROUND ON $3.5 MILLION RESTORATION OF LONGFELLOW GARDENS
Wednesday, May 2, 2018
After years of closure, Longfellow Gardens is being reconstructed under the Community Parks Initiative
NYC Parks Commissioner Mitchell J. Silver, FAICP, joined Community Board 2 District Manager Ralph Acevedo and children from P.S. 75 yesterday to break ground at Longfellow Gardens, which will be transformed into a playground and reopened to the public as “Longfellow Playground”. This site is among the first of 17 Bronx parks that will be completely renovated under the Community Parks Initiative (CPI).
Longfellow Gardens has been closed for more than ten years due to structural safety concerns. At the request of Commissioner Silver, the funding to reconstruct the site has been allocated by Mayor Bill de Blasio in the amount of $3.5 million, with additional support provided by the Department of Environmental Protection for green infrastructure.
“Reopening this green space to the community has been a priority of mine,” said Commissioner Silver. “With input from the neighborhood, we’ve completely reimagined this space. When we finish construction, this playground will be a fun and thriving playground for kids, their families and friends—especially students from the nearby P.S. 75.”
This project will completely reconstruct Longfellow Park, adding a playground with tree house motif, mini stage, spray shower, new seating areas, bike racks, a new fence, lighting, landscaping and greenery. The park will open to the public when construction is completed in the fall of 2018.
“Today’s groundbreaking at Longfellow Gardens means a great deal to me,” said Council Member Rafael Salamanca Jr. “I grew up across the street from the park and spent countless summers there with my sister and friends, cooling off in the sprinklers. For years, this park has been abandoned, and I’m thrilled to see the first step in its revitalization today. I’d like to thank Commissioner Silver and the Parks Department for their work and making this park and other forgotten parks, a priority.”
“The Community Parks Initiative serves as a model for how City agencies can partner to help ensure that New Yorkers get the biggest bang for their buck,” said DEP Commissioner Vincent Sapienza. “DEP is funding the construction of green infrastructure within each park, which will help to improve the health of local waterways and provide important amenities to communities that need them the most.”
To manage stormwater runoff, green infrastructure will be added throughout Longfellow Playground. DEP has committed approximately $50 million in funding for green infrastructure installations at CPI sites throughout the city, helping to reduce sewer overflows that sometimes occur during heavy rainfall, improve air quality and lower summertime temperatures.
Also on Tuesday, NYC Parks cut the ribbon on another CPI site in the Bronx—Ranaqua Playground. Launched by Mayor de Blasio in October 2014, CPI strives to make NYC Parks a more equitable and accessible parks system by investing in smaller parks that are located in New York City’s densely-populated neighborhoods with higher-than-average concentrations of poverty. Through CPI, the City is investing $318 million in capital dollars to make renovations to 67 parks citywide that have not undergone significant improvements in decades.