Kolbert Park to get $4 million makeover

Greenfield holds ceremony to mark groundbreaking

May 10, 2017 By Paula Katinas Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Children from local schools helped the grownups celebrate the start of the reconstruction of Kolbert Park. Councilmember David Greenfield (center) secured $3.5 million for the project. Photo courtesy of Greenfield’s office
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A neglected Midwood park will be getting a $4 million facelift now that the city has given the go-ahead to the project.

Kolbert Park, located on Avenue L and East 18th Street, will be getting new swing sets, new climbing equipment and a new spray shower, as well as adult fitness equipment, a synthetic turf field and walking track, officials announced.

In addition, a multipurpose play area will also be reconstructed with two full-size basketball courts for teens from two nearby schools, Veretzky Yeshiva and Edward R. Murrow High School, who use the playground.

Councilmember David G. Greenfield (D-Borough Park-Midwood-parts of Bensonhurst) hosted a ceremony on May 4 to mark the ground-breaking signaling the start of the work.

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City Parks Commissioner Mitchell J. Silver, Deputy Borough President Diana Reyna and Brooklyn Borough Parks Commissioner Marty Maher attended the ceremony.   

Greenfield secured $3.5 million and Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams contributed another $500,000 toward the project. Greenfield has vowed to fix every park in his council district.

The renovation is expected to take a year to complete. While the work is being done, the children’s playground and seating area will remain open for the public.

“This park has not been touched in 25 years. I am proud to be the only elected official in New York who is renovating every single park in the communities they represent. It’s simple: parks are a fantastic investment in the future of our communities,” Greenfield said.

Reyna, a former City Council member from Bushwick, said she admires Greenfield’s tenacity.

“Councilman Greenfield is doing something that no one else was able to do: renovate every single park in his district. As a former councilmember and as the deputy borough president, who is trying to help all of our parks in Brooklyn, I know what a great achievement that is,” she said.

“Every child deserves a beautiful outdoor space to play in a clean and safe environment,” Greenfield said. “And every adult benefits from green space. Great parks lead to better health and makes for happier New Yorkers.”

Kolbert Park, a 1.58 acre recreational area, is named in memory of Paul W. Kolbert (1925-1945), a Brooklyn soldier who was killed in World War II, according to the Parks Department’s website.

Kolbert, who was born and raised in Midwood, lived on East 18th Street and attended P. S. 97, Seth Low Junior High School, Madison High School, Brooklyn College and St. John’s University. He was a member of Boy Scout Troop 285.

Kolbert was also a delivery boy for the Brooklyn Eagle.

Kolbert, who had enlisted in the army, lost his life during a battle to retake the town of Binsfield, Luxembourg. He was killed while providing cover for fellow soldiers to evacuate. For his heroics, he was posthumously awarded the Distinguished Service Cross. On Feb. 4, 1945, Kolbert was buried with full military honors in Union Fields Cemetery in Queens.

Greenfield has secured funding to complete work on five parks and playgrounds in his district including Gravesend Park, the 18th Avenue Park and the Avenue P Park. This is the 10th parks project in his district that is now under construction. All told, Greenfield has secured more than $35 million to renovate every single park in his Boro Park, Midwood and Bensonhurst district.

Leaders of Community Board 14 and the 70th Police Precinct were also on hand for the ceremony, including board Chairman Alvin M. Berk, District Manager Shawn Campbell and member Kalman Yeger. The precinct was represented by Det. Scott Nuzzi, P.O. Loren Verri and P.O. Josue Ortiz.

Students from Yeshiva Veretzky and Edward R. Murrow High School were in attendance. They were joined by Murrow Principal Allen Barge and Assistant Principal Christine Ingordo. 

“Every child deserves a beautiful outdoor space to play in a clean and safe environment,” Greenfield said. “And every adult benefits from green space. Great parks lead to better health and makes for happier New Yorkers.”

Kolbert Park is the 10th project now under reconstruction in Greenfield’s district. Five other parks have already been renovated. To date, Greenfield has secured more than $35 million for the parks in his district, according to his office.

For more information on Kolbert Park, visit nycgovparks.org/parks/kolbert-playground/history.

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