City to spend $31 million on new W’burg park, three other greenspace renovations

A rendering of the city’s planned park at 50 Kent in Williamsburg.
NYC Parks Department

The city will spend $31 million on construction on four new parks projects in Brooklyn — bringing a new greenspace to Williamsburg, and much-needed upgrades to three other dilapidated parks.

“Increasing access to open space and improving parkland is integral to building healthy communities. These four projects set to begin work in Brooklyn reflect our effort to continuously invest in our neighborhoods and offer New Yorkers much needed respite and recreation,” said Parks Commissioner Mitchell Silver, who announced the plans on Friday. 

50 Kent 

As part of the new funding, the city will finance the creation of 50 Kent, which has been in the works for over a decade. The 2-acre lawn between N. 11th and N. 12th streets will sit amid Bushwick Inlet Park, and marks the latest in the Bloomberg-era plan to transform the once-manufacturing waterfront into sprawling open space. 

50 Kent park will feature a water play fountain.Parks Department

After originally breaking ground in 2018, construction stalled due to the coronavirus pandemic, which hampered the Parks Department budget, but construction work began last month with an scheduled end-date of April 2022. 

The newly-granted funds will help complete the project, which will feature a “picturesque” view of Manhattan, picnic areas, an entrance plaza, and fountains for children to play in.

La Guardia Playground

Also in Williamsburg, the city will spend $4.76 million to renovate the play equipment, new seating, and adjacent landscaping of S. Fourth Street’s La Guardia Playground. 

The construction, which will also include the addition of a new spray shower, marks the second phase of the playground’s makeover, after 2020 saw the remodeling of the sports courts and plaza in the space’s southern half. 

La Guardia Playground, as currently constructed.Parks Department

Mayor Bill de Blasio hailed the construction as the latest in his “Community Parks Initiative,” which aims to bring funds to upgrade small parks in higher-populated neighborhoods where large concentrations of poverty exist. 

“A Recovery for all of Us means increasing access to parks in historically underserved neighborhoods and creating greener, healthier communities,” Hizzoner said of the recent funding. 

Susan Smith McKinney Steward Park

Under the Manhattan Bridge, Dumbo’s Susan Smith McKinney Steward Park, which was recently renamed after the first Black woman to become a physician in New York, will get a new artificial turf field, a stage, exercise area, and water system. 

Susan Smith McKinney Steward Park reconstruction plan.Parks Department

The project will also see renovation of the York Street greenspace’s playground and play fountain, and is expected to be completed by April of 2022. 

Callahan Kelly Playground

Adjacent to Broadway Junction, the triangular Callahan Kelly Playground will receive a new skate park and new entrances. 

The construction plan also calls for renovation of the space’s playground, basketball courts, spray shower, exercise equipment, sidewalks, seating areas, and walls. 

That project is not expected to be done until April of 2023. 

Callahan Kelly Playground as currently constructed.Parks Department

“As a child, I have fond memories of the bustling handball court at Callahan Kelly Park,” Assemblymember Latrice Walker said in a statement. “Over the years the park has been plagued with non-working lights that left a very vibrant park dismal. As we all recover from this past year, the open, outdoor, green spaces are most certainly welcome.”