Scan Community Playground
The Supportive Children’s Advocacy Network (SCAN) of New York, a citywide youth services agency operating out of East Harlem and the South Bronx, has provided community-based services since it was founded in 1977. In mid-1996, SCAN became the third New York City community group to build a playground with the assistance of the City Spaces program. City Spaces, a partnership between the Trust for Public Land (TPL) and the City of New York, was formed in early 1996 to develop playgrounds in neighborhoods with sparse local park space.
Sites developed by the City Spaces program become permanent additions to Parks, while participating community groups are responsible for long-term maintenance and supervision of the playgrounds. Neighborhood volunteers perform all the duties that are essential to keeping the SCAN Community Playground in operation, including opening and closing the park, maintaining the greenery, attending to litter, and watching over the children.
Before the site was acquired by City Spaces, it was a vacant tract that had once served as a parking lot for the local police precinct. The land was transferred to Parks in September 1996 after a committee of local residents, organized by TPL and SCAN, had arrived at a design that satisfied the community’s needs. Through the combined efforts of City Spaces, private sponsors, and SCAN volunteers, the playground was completed in late 1997 and dedicated on August 5, 1998.
The SCAN Community Playground is a lot, exactly 100 feet square, on East 101st Street, between Lexington and Third Avenues. It features a play area and several rest spots, including a gazebo. A ramp on the western boundary of the park provides access for all members of the community. In June of 1999, 31 local children painted the mural, which now adorns the interior wall of the park. In addition, trees and flowers have been planted, completing the transformation of the once-vacant lot into a green park.