City plans $9.9 million repairs of two parks

Renovations are part of Community Parks Initiative

October 8, 2015 By Paula Katinas Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Councilmember Mark Treyger says he’s pleased that Lafayette Playground is included in the NYC Community Parks Initiative. Photo courtesy of Treyger’s office
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Two parks in Bensonhurst and Gravesend will be getting some much needed attention to the tune of $9.9 million under the NYC Community Parks Initiative, a Mayor Bill de Blasio administration program designed to rebuild smaller, neglected recreation spaces around the city.

Councilmember Vincent Gentile announced that the Lt. Joseph Petrosino Park in his district will undergo $4.5 million in renovations. The park is named in honor of Lt. Joseph Petrosino, a New York City police lieutenant who was shot to death by organized crime members in Italy in 1909 while investigating several cases.

Another Southwest Brooklyn park, Lafayette Playground, will be getting a $5.4 million facelift, according to Councilmember Mark Treyger, whose district includes the park.

Under the Community Parks Initiative, local residents will have input on the redesign of the parks.

The funding will ensure that Lt. Joseph Petrosino Park, located where New Utrecht Avenue, 16th Avenue and 70th Street meet, will be brought up-to-date, according to Gentile. He acknowledged that the larger and more popular public parks usually receive more funding from the city than the smaller and more intimate public spaces like Petrosino Park do.

Gentile (D-Bay Ridge-Dyker Heights-Bensonhurst) said that all public parks, big or small, popular or not, deserve equal financial attention.

A press conference announcing the funding took place at Lafayette Playground, located at Stillwell Avenue between Bay 43rd Street and Benson Avenue, on Oct. 6. City Parks Commissioner Mitchell J. Silver and Councilmember Mark Levin (D-Washington Heights), chairman of the Committee on Parks and Recreation, attended the press conference.

“Parts of our neighborhood have historically not seen attention and resources to improve recreational opportunities and quality of life benefits for residents,” Treyger (D-Coney Island-Gravesend-Bensonhurst) said at the press conference. “I am proud to announce that our concerns about parks in Southwest Brooklyn have begun to be heard.”

Lafayette Playground is currently an empty, triangular, concrete space. The scoping meetings planned for spring of 2016 will give neighborhood residents the opportunity to provide their input on the park’s design, Treyger said.

The renovation projects at Petrosino Park and Lafayette Playground are part of the second round of funding under the Community Parks Initiative. The initiative was launched in 2014 with the renovation of 35 parks. Under the second phase, 12 small parks around the city will benefit from an infusion of capital investment, community outreach, expanded recreational programming and increased maintenance, officials said.

The plans call for a total of 70 parks around the city to be renovated. The total cost of the Community Parks Initiative is expected to be $285 million.

“This is a great opportunity and it is very exciting because parks service families from toddlers to seniors,” Assemblymember William Colton (D-Gravesend-Bensonhurst) said.

When he announced the program last year, de Blasio called it an important investment in parks.

“From children and parents to athletes and students, every New Yorker deserves access to clean and safe public parkland — no matter what neighborhood they live in. The Community Parks Initiative reaffirms our administration’s commitment to the creation and maintenance of vibrant parks and public spaces in all five boroughs,” de Blasio said.

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