Bye, bye, bocce!
The Parks Department plans to give McDonald Playground a makeover, and take out its bocce ball court in the process. The Sheepshead Bay playground, which has fallen into disrepair, will receive improved landscaping, furniture, and new play structures for children in a revamp people in the nabe said is long overdue.
“It’s totally run-down and hasn’t improved the last few years,” said Community Board 15 parks committee chairman Al Smaldone. “This is a very good start.”
The plans for McDonald Playground contain several upgrades to its play facilities, according to a presentation from the department. The improvements include:
• Expanding the play area into the current bocce ball court.
• Improving security lighting.
• Lowering the fence around the park to improve visibility to the community.
• Adding new benches, play equipment, game tables, trees and plants.
• Improving the appearance of the E. First Street entrance.
Changes in the neighborhood make fixing up the park necessary, according to Smaldone, who said there are young children around who would benefit from added playground equipment.
“The community has changed over the years,” he said.
The budget for the work is $3 million, with $1.5 million from Councilman Mark Treyger (D–Coney Island), $1 million allocated by former Councilman David Greenfield (D–Midwood), $400,000 from Mayor DeBlasio, and $100,000 from Borough President Adams, according to the Parks Department.
The plan is currently in the design phase, and is expected to move into procurement later this year, according to a Parks Department spokeswoman.
The Parks Department website says the department has approved the design, and that the design is now undergoing review by regulatory agencies and the community board. It also says that procurement for such projects takes nine months on average, while construction averages 12–18 months.
CB15 unanimously voted in favor of a proposal from chairwoman Theresa Scavo to write a letter of support for the plans to the department at a Jan. 30 meeting. Smaldone said he said he’s excited for the work to begin.
“The layout is really beautiful,” he said. “And there are a lot of things for children to play with.”
McDonald Playground opened in 1951. It gets its name from chief clerk of the Brooklyn Surrogate’s Court John R, McDonald, who tragically died in 1932 after swallowing a small piece of chicken bone that punctured his intestine, according to the Parks Department website.