Borough Park

City breaks ground on Gravesend Park renovation project

May 20, 2015 By Paula Katinas Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Officials celebrate the start of the renovation project in Gravesend Park. Photo courtesy Councilmember David G. Greenfield’s office
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A Brooklyn neighborhood that has a serious shortage of parkland is going to be getting a new version of an old familiar park.

The New York City Department of Parks and Recreation is renovating Gravesend Park under a $5.45 million project that will include installing four new playgrounds, two new swing sets, new basketball and paddle-ball courts and a new baseball field. The construction will include doubling the size of the playground with swings and new play equipment, completely reconstructing and re-aligning the existing baseball fields, renovating the seating area with new benches and installing new lighting.

Councilmember David G. Greenfield (D-Borough Park-Midwood-Bensonhurst), who obtained funding in the city budget for the project, joined other officials to break ground for the construction on May 14.

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Brooklyn Parks Commissioner Kevin Jeffrey; Sandra Chapman, program officer for Borough President Eric Adams; and Community Board 12 District Manager Barry Spitzer all took part in the ceremony.

Despite the fact that the 6.3 acre park has Gravesend in its name, the recreation area is actually located in Borough Park, stretching from 55th Street to 58th Street, between 18 and 19th avenues.

City officials acknowledged that Borough Park has precious little park land for families to enjoy.

“This is a district that has a large population, and unfortunately, a dearth of park land,” Jeffrey said.

The project is important for another reason, according to Greenfield’s office, which noted that the vast majority of the park’s land, approximately two-thirds, has not been touched in over 30 years.

Several years ago, Simcha Felder, who was Borough Park’s councilmember at the time, funded renovations of the first third of the park. When the Greenfield-funded renovations are complete, the entire park will have been renovated.

Greenfield, who serves as chairman of the powerful Land Use Committee on the City Council, said providing funding to repair and rebuild parks is his top priority as a council member.

“Here in Brooklyn, we don’t have backyards or front yards. Instead we have our city parks. Parks are the great equalizer. It doesn’t matter if you’re a billionaire or if you’re on food stamps: you’re using our parks. It’s something that benefits everyone,” he said in a statement.

Jeffrey praised Greenfield for his commitment to the city’s parks. “The council member has made over $17 million in allocations to our parks here in your district,” he told Borough Park residents at the ceremony. “That is leveraged from the mayor, the borough president and other places for another $6 million for a grand total of $23 million thanks to Councilmember David Greenfield.”

Spitzer noted that local residents refer to Gravesend Park as 18th Avenue Park. “Gravesend Park, or as people in Borough Park call it, the 18th Avenue Park, is the premier park in Borough Park,” he said. The project means a lot, he said. “This is really great and I’m so happy for the community,” Spitzer said.

The renovation project is expected to be completed by the end of 2016.



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