Jackie Robinson Park
The Daily Plant : Monday, December 22, 2003
HIGH DIVING POOL IN HARLEM TRANSFORMS INTO SPLENDID PLAYGROUND
Parks & Recreation is going to great depths in Harlem to renovate Jackie Robinson Recreation. The Center’s former high diving pool will be filled in and transformed into a children’s water playground featuring palm trees that sprinkle water on hot summer days. Umbrella structures will provide shade for toddlers and their caretakers. At the groundbreaking on Wednesday, December 17, students from Daly Day Academy took a turn at the shovel to help Parks & Recreation Commissioner Adrian Benepe and City Council Member Robert Jackson skillfully toss dirt into Jackie Robinson’s high diving pool, marking the official start of the play area’s construction.
One of the folks brimming with pride during the renovation kick-off was Center Manager Jackie Rowe-Adams. "I think it's wonderful," said Rowe-Adams. "What park better than Jackie Robinson to receive the renovation…that’s highly used by many, many members of the community." Rowe-Adams, noting that the Center was "way overdue" for a renovation, believes that the improvements will help get even more members of the community involved in the "Mecca of Harlem."
The $700,000 renovation will provide something new for all of Jackie Robinson’s visitors. Fitness buffs will enjoy their workout on the indoor weight room's new floor. Competitors playing indoor basketball will be floored by the court’s brand new surface and with new lighting being installed, a game of one-on-one never appeared brighter. Council Member Jackson allocated the funding and construction is expected to be complete in fall of 2004.
The engineering consultant for the project is Dewberry-Goodkind, Inc. and Urbahn Associates Inc. is serving as the sub-consultant for architecture and landscape architecture. Parks & Recreation’s Resident Engineer Gabriella Ward is supervising the construction.
Parks Committee Chair of Community Board 10 Haja Worley and Vice Chair of the Jackie Robinson Conservancy David Weaver were also on hand at Wednesday's groundbreaking ceremony. Assistant Commissioner for Community Relations Edward Lewis, Assistant Commissioner for Capital Projects Nancy Barthold and Manhattan Borough Commissioner William Castro were among the Parks' personnel who lent their support.
The Center’s namesake, Jackie Robinson (1919-1972), is legendary for his pioneering role as the first African American professional baseball player in the major leagues. On April 15, 1947, Robinson made history as the first African American to play in a major league baseball game. He paved the way for generations of African American athletes to compete in America’s national pastime. Robinson went on to lead the Dodgers, as a second baseman, to six World Series appearances. He retired in 1956 with a lifetime batting average of .311. (Coincidentally, this number is also the City’s information line.)
Jackie Robinson Recreation Center is sure to inspire young people to reach for the major leagues in whatever field they chose. The "Center is so family orientated, there is so much warmth…even our contractor, we can’t keep her away," said Center Manger Rowe-Adams. Jackie herself radiates this warmth; each person who walked in her path on Wednesday couldn't resist but to give her a hug.
Written by Jocelyn Aframe
QUOTATION FOR THE DAY
"Though I am always in haste, I am never in a hurry."
Directions to Jackie Robinson Park
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