Sol Lain Plgd


Wednesday, September 27, 2017
No. 103

NYC Parks Commissioner Mitchell J. Silver, FAICP, yesterday joined Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, Council Member Margaret Chin, DEP Director of Stormwater Outreach Mikelle Adgate, Principal Daniel Kim, PS 134, Trever Holland, Community Board 3 parks committee chair, Susan LaRosa, Henry Street Settlement and community members to cut the ribbon on the newly reconstructed Community Parks Initiative (CPI) site Sol Lain Playground, on Manhattan’s Lower East Side—opening the site a month ahead of schedule. The Sol Lain Playground design is based on feedback gathered directly from the community at public input sessions. The sixth CPI site to open after undergoing complete reconstruction, Sol Lain was funded by Mayor Bill de Blasio with a $3.6 million allocation from the program’s overall $318 million budget, and with support from NYC DEP.

“Each site rebuilt by the Community Parks Initiative brings us closer to fully realizing our goal of true park equity for millions of New Yorkers. It’s a 67-park, $318-million citywide effort that has real block-to-block impact,” said Commissioner Silver. “Here in the Lower East Side, the newly rebuilt Sol Lain Playground is already fostering a stronger, healthier community by bringing more greenery, better athletic resources, and two all-new playgrounds.”

“Every neighborhood needs a park, and the Community Parks Initiative targets park investments for some of the neighborhoods that need them most," said Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer. "Thanks to the CPI program, the Sol Lain playground will be more inviting, with new equipment and features for children in multiple age groups, as well as new resilient elements to better manage stormwater while standing up to the test of time."

“I am honored to be part of today’s unveiling of the newly reconstructed Sol Lain Playground,” said Council Member Margaret S. Chin. “Home to the Sol Lain Football League and the Edward Garcia Field, which celebrates the legacy and spirit of a community leader who dedicated his life towards cultivating local youth leadership through sports, Sol Lain Playground has served as a pillar in our Lower East Side community for decades. Thanks to Mayor de Blasio for providing $3.6 million to fund this project, and to Commissioner Silver and local partners who helped make this Community Parks Initiative possible. These investments and upgrades will ensure that our community can continue to enjoy one of our most treasured parks for generations to come.”

“In August of 2016, I joined my community and NYC Parks for the groundbreaking of Sol Lain Playground. I am thrilled that one year later we are gathering to celebrate its complete construction and renovation. Area residents rely on this playground for both passive and active uses. I am so proud that area residents were active participants in determining what should be in this park based on the needs of the surrounding community. I want to thank the Parks Department and Mayor de Blasio for creating the Community Parks Initiative to make these renovations possible.” – Councilwoman Rosie Mendez, District 2.

“Sol Lain Playground stands on the heart of the Lower East Side, surrounded by housing complexes, senior centers, and schools, which is why these improvements are so necessary for our community,” said Assemblymember Yuh-Line Niou. “As part of these upgrades, Sol Lain will receive a new basketball court, a mini-running track, and accessible planters. On any given day at Sol Lain, one can find seniors enjoying the sun, or children running in the playground. This is truly a community park, and I commend the NYC Parks Department for renovating Sol Lain Playground, our neighborhood's gathering place.”

Launched by Mayor de Blasio in October 2014, CPI is a multi-faceted investment in the smaller public parks that are located in New York City’s densely populated and growing neighborhoods where there are higher-than-average concentrations of poverty. CPI is NYC Parks' first major equity initiative and part of the Mayor’s OneNYC: The Plan for a Strong and Just City.

The newly reconstructed Sol Lain Playground includes new, separated play areas for kids aged 6 months to 2 years, 2 to 5 years and 5 to 12 years old, as well as swings and a spray shower. Features for older kids include a high-school-size basketball court, as well as a multi- purpose play area with two basketball backstops, painted lines for tag football and a mini-running track. Adjacent to P.S. 134 will be a children's education garden with accessible planters, water supply, compost bin, storage container and a small cherry orchard.

Other work includes new pavements, curbs, fences and gates, drainage, drinking fountains and lighting. Green infrastructure elements have been included in coordination with the NYC Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to manage storm water runoff, including permeable pavements and plant beds with shrubs, small trees and perennials.

Additionally, the site currently has a comfort station that is also being renovated with CPI funding for $1.03 million, and is expected to open early 2018.

Since Commissioner Silver came to Parks in 2014, the agency has taken on more projects and finished them faster. At any given time, NYC Parks has roughly 500 capital projects in development, and continues to work to bring New Yorkers better parks faster. In addition to unveiling the Parks Capital Tracker, bringing transparency to the process, steps Parks has taken to reduce the average length of the capital process by five months includes, lessening the average number of days in construction by 99; reducing change orders by 78 percent, and receiving PDC design approvals 83 percent of the time on first submissions, up from 20 percent prior.

Formerly Henry Street Playground, this playground, located on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, is named to honor Sol Lain (1936-1971), a community activist who dedicated his life to serving the youth of this Lower East Side neighborhood. Lain lived in the nearby Vladeck Park Houses with his wife Betty, and ran youth sports programs at the Henry Street Settlement, and later at the Educational Alliance. He oversaw baseball and other recreational activities at these and other non-profit organizations, but his passion was basketball. Lain often brought teams he coached to sports tournaments as far away as the Catskills. In the 1960s, tournaments organized by Lain at this playground attracted professional basketball players including Fred Crawford and Bob McCullough, and rivaled the Harlem’s legendary Rucker tournaments for a time. When Sol Lain died of cancer in 1971, a local law passed naming this park in his honor.

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