Robert L. Clinkscales Playground and Community Garden

The Daily Plant : Thursday, October 2, 2014

NYC Parks Cuts Ribbon On New Robert L. Clinkscales Playground

Photo by Malcolm Pinckney

NYC Parks Commissioner Mitchell J. Silver, FAICP yesterday joined State Senator Bill Perkins, Assembly Member Herman D. Farrell, Jr., former Borough President C. Virginia Fields, former Council Member Robert Jackson, President & CEO of Harlem Congregations for Community Improvement (HCCI) Derek Broomes, Community Board 10 member Deborah Gilliard, President & CEO of Harlem Memorial Community Development Inc. Frederick Wilson and the Clinkscales family to celebrate the opening of the new Robert L. Clinkscales Playground and Community Garden on West 146th Street in Harlem.

"This park is the result of a very dedicated community and many years of hard work," said Commissioner Silver. "Robert Clinkscales embodied the very spirit of community that the Parks Department works so hard to achieve with so many of our projects and programs. This park was carefully designed to make sure that it provides accessibility for all people, of all ages, with all different abilities."

“Active collaboration among residents and city agencies with an eye toward community needs, enrichment and development is the key to fostering diverse, livable neighborhoods in New York City,” said NYC Department of Housing Preservation & Development (HPD) Commissioner Vicki Been. “It is exactly that recipe for change that spurred the rebirth of formerly city-owned land into a beautiful playground. This was made possible through the vision of the Parks Department and with joint funding from HPD, the Manhattan Borough President’s Office, the City Council and the Mayor’s Office. Our city flourishes when we all work together. I am proud to celebrate the opening of this new neighborhood oasis. On behalf of HPD, I’d like to thank the Parks Department and all of our colleagues in government for developing such a beautiful park space.”

Five vacant lots were transformed into a new playground and community garden, with 20 planting beds for both adults and children. The park also includes various accessibility features for people of all ages and special needs, including an elevated sand box, planting beds at various heights, ramps, and accessible tables to accommodate wheelchairs.

Funding for this $1.5 million project was provided by former Council Member Robert Jackson, the Mayor’s Office and HPD, which also agreed to transfer four of the five vacant lots to Parks. Former Borough President Fields allocated the funds so the City could purchase the fifth lot.

The park is named after a true community activist who advocated for local parks. Clinkscales' work with HCCI was instrumental in the revival of the Bradhurst Urban Renewal Area. Through his role as a community organizer for HCCI's Community Improvement Group, he brought life back to Jackie Robinson Park with his "take back the park" campaign in the 1990s.

"Never believe that a few people can’t change the world. For, indeed, that’s all who ever have."

Margaret Mead


Park Information

Directions to Robert L. Clinkscales Playground and Community Garden


  • NYC Parks Cuts Ribbon On New Robert L. Clinkscales Playground

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