Van Nest Park

NYC Parks, Elected Officials, Community Partners Break Ground On Renovations To Van Nest Park

Friday, May 16, 2014
No. 22

The $1.35 million project will provide safe, interactive space for children and families

Today, NYC Parks Bronx Parks Commissioner Hector Aponte joined Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr., Council Member James Vacca, Council Member Ritchie Torres, State Senator Gustavo Rivera, State Assembly Member Mark Gjonaj, Community Board 11 Chairman Tony Vitaliano, Vice President of the Van Nest Neighborhood Alliance Bernadette Ferrara, and more than a dozen students from the Bronx Charter School of Excellence to break ground on renovations to Van Nest Park. The $1.35 million project will include a new spray shower, sitting area, swings, drinking fountain, fencing, landscaping, and new play equipment with a distinctive locomotive-themed design, a tribute to the neighborhood's early beginnings.

"I am proud to celebrate the beginning of construction for renovations to Van Nest Park," said Bronx Parks Commissioner Hector Aponte. "Thanks to the generous support of Borough President Diaz, Council Member Torres, and Council Member Vacca, along with the dedicated efforts of Parks staff and members of the community, Van Nest Park will be a dynamic recreational resource for this community for many years to come."

“Van Nest Park is great for the community and once all construction is completed, it will be a place where our families can have a good time. Our kids deserve a great park to play on and be proud of and this park will be enjoyed by Van Nest residents as well as all Bronxites for generations to come,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.

“I am thrilled we are breaking ground on these terrific renovations to Van Nest Park, and am proud to have been able to provide funding to make them a reality. The children of Van Nest deserve a fun, clean place to play, and I am sure this redesigned playground will become a destination for families across the community,” said Council Member James Vacca.

“The renovation of Van Nest Park will create a safe and vibrant space for all members of the community to enjoy,” said Bronx Council Member Ritchie Torres: “I know how important this project is the to the neighborhood and will work diligently with the Parks Department and my colleagues in government to see to its successful and timely completion."

Renovations to Van Nest Park were funded with allocations of $750,000 from Council Member Ritchie Torres, $500,000 from Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr., and $100,000 from Council Member James Vacca. The project is scheduled to be completed in early 2015.

The new play equipment is designed to resemble a 19th-century locomotive, invoking the neighborhood's roots. The Van Nest neighborhood, Van Nest Avenue, and Van Nest Park take their names from the Van Nest Railroad Station, which served this area in the late 19th century. The New York, New Haven, Hartford Railroad Company established the railroad station here even before there was a settlement. The station was named by Abraham Reynier Van Nest, the director of the New York, New Haven, Hartford Railroad, in honor of his father, Reynier Van Nest, a successful saddle maker. The Van Nest family traces its roots to Pieter Pietersen Van Nest, who came from the Netherlands in 1647 to settle in the young Dutch colony.

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