Playground redesigns revealed for Owl’s Head and JJ Carty parks

playground redesigns
John J. Carty Park.
Jim Henderson, Wikicommons

Two Bay Ridge playgrounds will receive much-needed makeovers with modernized play equipment, improved drainage, and a new-and-improved layout, according to redesigns unveiled last week. 

The renovations for John J. Carty Park and Owl’s Head Park, which will cost $9.4 million combined, aim to bring the playgrounds up to snuff and incorporate some of the recommendations local parents made in an October meeting, according to a Parks Department representative. 

“We’re looking at the playground equipment; we’re looking at the spray shower; we’re looking at reconfiguring the area so it’s more safe and secure for the kids to play,” said architect Denise Mattes at a March 4 Community Board 10 meeting.

A $5.4 million makeover of John J. Carty Park, located on Fort Hamilton Parkway by 95th Street and often called just JJ Carty Park, will overhaul the play area’s layout, replace the playground and the spray shower, provide additional drainage, install appropriate seating, and add lighting for security, Mattes said. 

playground redesigns
The revamped JJ Carty Park play area will be more consolidated that the playground currently is.Parks Department

The revamped playground will contain two new jungle gyms for kids ages 2 to 5 years old and 5 to 12 years old; two ping pong tables and other game tables; and new swing sets with four bucket swings for babies, four flat swings for older children, and an ADA-compliant swing.

The new grounds will also move the play equipment closer together, said the playground’s designer.

The intent here is to keep this play area within this central court space,” Mattes said.

playground redesigns
The play area for children 2 to 5 years old will be bright green.Parks Department

The grounds will be surrounded by four-foot-tall fences (down from the the seven-foot fences currently at the playground), and will feature inventive, new elements — such as colorful painted lines that lead to different parts of the play area.

“I worked with an occupational therapist on a project that was done for an elementary school. These classroom floor decals were done in order to promote a number of different things in terms of growth and development,” said Mattes, who said the lines lead to hopscotch on one side and a separate part of the playground on the other. “You can travel along these painted lines.”

The colorful decals will lead children to different parts of the park.Parks Department

Meanwhile, a $4 million makeover of the playground at Owl’s Head Park on Colonial Road by 67th Street will include updates to the playground’s jungle gyms, spray showers, benches, asphalt, and drainage systems.

The playground — which has not been renovated for 25 years — will remain mostly the same shape because of the large, shaded trees that encircle the area, said architect Aurora Davis.

In the southern play area, kids will find updated jungle gyms for kids 2 to 5 and 5 to 12, and an expanded swing set with four bucket swings for babies, four strap swings for older kids, an ADA compliant swing, and a child-parent swing. 

playground redesigns
Parks officials revealed the redesign of Owl’s Head Playground at a meeting on March 4.Parks Department

The current playground only has five bucket swings and two tire swings, which the Parks Department no longer uses because a number of injuries, according to representative Chris Syrett.

The playground’s northern half will contain a quiet play area, a smaller spray shower space with updated utilities, picnic tables, and benches around the perimeter. 

Central to the renovation is the updated asphalt and storm water capture systems, preventing future water damage that has plagued the park for years. 

playground redesigns
The play area for kids 5-12 years old will have feature all new equipment.Parks Department

“We’re going to be doing new drain utilities and a lot of drain water capture,” said Davis. 

Construction on both playgrounds is slated to begin summer of 2022 and end one year later, although COVID-19 related delays may push back the project’s start time. Both playgrounds will remain closed for the duration of the renovations. 

The renovations, whose funding was allocated by Councilmember Justin Brannan in 2020, are part of a slate of park upgrades spearheaded by the pol recent years. In January, Bensonhurst Park Playground opened following an extensive revamp, and renovations for Russell Pedersen Playground and Vinland Playground are currently in the works. Owl’s Head Park will also receive new basketball courts, the legislator announced last fall.