The city kicked off over $100 million in repairs, renovations, and upgrades for Brooklyn parks over the weekend, in what Mayor Eric Adams is calling a “major milestone in our recovery” from the COVID-19 pandemic.
A whopping 104 projects citywide, totaling $417 million in capital investment, got the ball rolling on construction after having stalled in the procurement stage during the pandemic, the Parks Department said. That includes 29 projects in Brooklyn totaling just under $109 million in investment.
“New York City’s parks aren’t luxuries, but necessities — playing a critical role building community and nurturing our physical, mental, and emotional health,” Hizzoner said in a statement. “Parks can be the great equalizers, which is why every New Yorker, regardless of zip code or color, deserves access to a park. This $417 million investment to revitalize over 100 parks, playgrounds, and green spaces is a major milestone in our recovery that will pay dividends for generations to come.”
The former Brooklyn beep made the announcement on Sunday at Saratoga Park in Bedford-Stuyvesant, which is now undergoing a $2.2 million reconstruction of that park’s playground which is expected to be completed in 2023. The new playground will feature new and restored playhouses and swings, a spray shower, and a brand new “tot play area,” the Parks Department says.
The investments were all funded under previous capital budgets but had gotten stalled due to COVID-related delays in the procurement and construction process.
Brooklyn’s single biggest investment in the lot is a $20.3 million allocation to reconstruct the Brownsville Recreation Center, which was built in 1950. $11.7 million will be invested in reconstructing the roof and exterior walls of the bath house at McCarren Park in Williamsburg, while a few blocks south, the William Sheridan Playground will get an $8 million reconstruction. Other notable projects include pavement reconstruction at Grand Army Plaza and the construction of comfort stations at a number of parks, including the historic Wyckoff House Museum in Canarsie.
See a full list of projects below.
The news comes as the mayor and City Council are in negotiations over the next city budget, which advocates hope funds the Parks Department at 1 percent of the overall operating budget. Adams promised to do so during his campaign, but his preliminary budget proposal funded the Department at only about half a percent of the overall $98.5 billion city financial plan, about $495 million, which is in fact a $63 million cut from the last budget as the mayor directs all agencies to plan for fiscal belt-tightening.
Advocates plan to rally at City Hall next Tuesday to call for the mayor’s campaign pledge to be honored. Adams said Sunday that he still wants to reach the 1 percent funding benchmark, but didn’t offer a clear answer on whether he intends to reach it in his first budget as mayor.
“This is early. This is the first budget, the preliminary budget,” Adams said at the Sunday press conference. “And the goal is to get to that 1 percent. I’m a big believer in parks.”