Thomas Boyland Park


Friday, October 27, 2017
No. 110

Investments in Historically Underfunded Neighborhood Parks to Improve Quality of Life

NYC Parks Commissioner Mitchell J. Silver, FAICP today joined Deputy Mayor for Strategic Policy Initiatives and Citywide M/WBE Director Richard Buery, City Council Member Rafael Espinal, and community groups to cut the ribbon on the newly reconstructed Community Parks Initiative (CPI) site Thomas Boyland Park in Brooklyn. The Thomas Boyland Park design is based on feedback gathered directly from the community at public input sessions. The latest CPI site to open after undergoing complete reconstruction, Thomas Boyland was funded by Mayor Bill de Blasio with a $3.3 million allocation from the program’s overall $318 million budget, with an additional $1 million from Council Member Espinal, and $664,000 from the NYC Department of Environmental Protection (NYCDEP).

Of the $4.3 million contract for Thomas Boyland, $739,000 was awarded to five minority- and women-owned business enterprises (M/WBEs). The project was completed on budget and three months ahead of schedule, and is one of several Parks projects included in the $125.2 million in contracts awarded to M/WBEs over the last year. Parks has been one of the top three performing agencies for the past three fiscal years, having awarded $120.3 million during Fiscal Year 2017, $90.9 million during Fiscal Year 2016, and $38.3 million during Fiscal Year 2015 to M/WBEs.

“We’re so excited about the new and improved Thomas Boyland Playground and what it will mean for the community. And we’re even more excited that Minority and women-owned businesses played such an important role in building it,” said Deputy Mayor Buery. “With nearly $740,000 in landscaping, fencing, and construction completed by M/WBEs, this project demonstrates that we can build the equitable city we envision by being more inclusive and by making opportunity available to all.”

Jonnel Doris, Senior Advisor and Director of the Mayor’s Office of M/WBEs, said, “Parks are green spaces that serve as hubs for communities of all backgrounds to come together. It is imperative that people creating these spaces also reflect the diversity of those same communities. I congratulate the Parks Department on the revitalization of Thomas Boyland Park and ensuring that M/WBEs participated in its construction.”

“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. “The new and improved Thomas Boyland Park is a reflection of the communities’ creative visions with new play areas, sports courts, community gathering areas and more, and we are proud to present to this vibrant community the park they deserve.”

“I am thrilled to see our community’s vision for Thomas Boyland Park come to fruition," said Council Member Espinal. "I was proud to allocate $1 million to renovate the park through the East New York Rezoning because access to high quality parks should be available to all neighborhoods across the city regardless of wealth or status. After years of neglect, Thomas Boyland Park is now transformed into a park the entire community can be proud of."

“Parks and open spaces are our city’s great equalizers, allowing people from all walks of life a chance for recreation and relaxation,” said Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams. “I applaud NYC Parks Commissioner Silver for spearheading the rehabilitation of Thomas Boyland Park in a neighborhood that has long faced issues of inequality. With this redesign, we are better equipped to raise healthy children and families in this community, thanks to the new fitness equipment, play areas, and landscaped features that will be here for everyone to enjoy.”

“DEP is proud to be a partner in NYC Parks’ Community Parks Initiative which is transforming neighborhood parks across the city,” said NYC DEP Commissioner Vincent Sapienza. “We are always looking for ways in which we can reduce the water that enters our sewer system to help mitigate the risk of CSO’s, and we were able to do just that with this project at Thomas Boyland Park. The newly installed green infrastructure at this playground will help to reduce stormwater runoff, improve the health of the surrounding waterways, and beautify the neighborhood.”

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.

Thomas Boyland Park was chosen in the first round of CPI sites and has undergone a complete transformation that includes a new basketball court, a community gathering area, adult fitness equipment, a redesigned children’s play area with a spray shower, a natural turf baseball field with surrounding track, new landscaping, and more. Some severe subsurface sinking conditions were also corrected.

Enhanced Sustainability
Additional capital program support comes from the New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), which has committed approximately $50 million in funding for the construction of green infrastructure installations at the CPI sites. The green infrastructure will manage the precipitation that falls on the parks, and some of the surrounding streets, keeping it out of the combined sewer system and helping to reduce combined sewer overflows that sometimes occur during heavy rainfall. New York City has the most ambitious and aggressive green infrastructure program in the nation, with thousands of installations currently under construction across the city. In addition to managing stormwater, green infrastructure helps to improve air quality while also providing shade and lowering summertime temperatures.

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.

This park is named to honor Thomas Boyland (1942-1982), a charismatic and fiercely independent State Assemblyman from Brownsville who dedicated his life to public service. Boyland was born in Memphis, Tennessee, one of thirteen children. He graduated from Philander Smith College in Little Rock, Arkansas, and studied in graduate programs at Hunter College and Syracuse University before receiving a master’s degree in education from New York University. During the 1960s, Boyland spent nearly five years in East Africa working as a volunteer with the Peace Corps.

Directions to Thomas Boyland Park

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