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Heckscher Playground

The Daily Plant : Wednesday, November 18, 2015

NYC Parks Joins East Brooklyn Congregations To Break Ground On Phase II Of Highly Anticipated Heckscher Playground Reconstruction


Malcolm Pinckney

Last week, NYC Parks Brooklyn Borough Commissioner Kevin Jeffrey joined Deputy Brooklyn Borough President Diana Reyna, City Council Member Rafael Espinal, District Manager for Community Board Four Nadine Whitted, leaders of East Brooklyn Congregations and local residents to break ground on the second phase of reconstruction at Heckscher Playground in Brooklyn.

Following extensive advocacy from members of the East Brooklyn Congregations, NYC Parks Commissioner Mitchell J. Silver, FAICP attended a meeting this past March and pledged to accelerate the capital process for this project.

Phase two of Heckscher Playground will include a synthetic turf field, two full basketball courts, an adult fitness area, a soft-surface track, spray misting posts, security lighting and bleachers, and is expected to be completed by October 2016. This portion of the playground’s transformation was funded with $1.25 from Council Member Espinal, $1M from Borough President Adams, and $550K from the Mayor’s Office.

The first phase of Heckscher Playground, is part of a multi-site project including Wingate Park Gym and Nautilus Playground, and is already under construction. This includes play equipment for multiple age groups, a spray shower, landscaping and drinking fountains. It is expected to be completed in December 2015, months ahead of schedule.

A comfort station at Green Central Knoll, funded with $2.3M by the Mayor’s Office, City Council Member Antonio Reynoso and private funding, is also being constructed and is expected to be completed by October 2017.

“Heckscher Playground is beloved in the Bushwick community and thanks to the stalwart efforts of East Brooklyn Congregations, elected officials and local residents, it will get the full transformation it so deserves, and quickly,” said NYC Parks Commissioner Mitchell J. Silver, FAICP. “Heckscher was one of my first site visits as Parks Commissioner, and its poor condition was deeply impactful. Over the last several months, it has been inspiring to work with such dedicated community leaders and strong advocates. Once it is completed, Heckscher will be a premiere destination for recreation, where families can gather safely and teams can practice and play.”

"Heckscher Playground required more than simple TLC to get it back into shape; it needed a robust commitment of funding and an expedited capital process to deliver the high-quality open space that Bushwick families deserve,” said Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams. “I am pleased to support renovations of this park through my FY16 budget, and I thank the local advocates who made sure their voices were heard on the importance of this project. Heckscher Playground is a key asset in our larger effort to make Brooklyn a safer place to raise healthy children and families."

"Access to safe, clean parks are an essential component of a healthy community and a top priority for me. New Yorkers in every neighborhood deserve a local park they can take pride in, which is why I was proud to secure $1.25 million for a new multipurpose turf at Heckscher Playground. I’m sure that once construction is complete the new and improved Heckscher Playground will be a source of pride for the entire community. I am grateful for the partnership of Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams on this project, and would like to thank Commissioner Silver for his effort to speed up the lengthy capital process and ensure the renovations started as quickly as possible,” said Council Member Rafael Espinal.

“I am very excited to see this project coming to fruition,” said Council Member Reynoso. “Heckscher Playground is one of the largest open spaces in Bushwick, a community that is starved for open space. Its improvement will have a large positive impact on this community.”

"Today is a great day. After years of hard work by the leaders of East Brooklyn Congregations, things are changing at Heckscher Playground,” said Fr. Joseph Hoffman, pastor of Saint Barbara's Roman Catholic Church and leader with East Brooklyn Congregations. “Thanks to funding allocated by Borough President Adams and Council Member Espinal, we are rebuilding a first-rate park. Under the leadership of Commissioner Silver, and his exceedingly professional Parks team, construction is beginning on time and completion will come soon after. The families of Bushwick are ready to play ball!"

"Growing up in Hope Gardens my window overlooked a vacant lot. My mom wouldn't let me play at the playground, because it was unsafe. Now all of this is changing. With the reconstruction of Heckscher Playground, I can be sure that my children, and the other children growing up in Bushwick, will have a nice, clean and safe place to play,” said Adriane Williams, parishioner at Saint Barbara's Roman Catholic Church and leader with East Brooklyn Congregations. “This project is a victory for Saint Barbara's, East Brooklyn Congregations, and all of the Bushwick residents who fought to bring back their neighborhood."

Directions to Heckscher Playground

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