A Harlem playground has been added to a $285 million city initiative to fully reconstruct long-overlooked parks.
Abraham Lincoln Playground, on Fifth Avenue and East 135 Street, was one of nine parks selected Monday for inclusion in the Community Parks Initiative, Mayor Bill de Blasio and Parks Commissioner Mitchell Silver announced. As a result, the playground will receive a full-scale redesign and reconstruction.
“New York City’s small parks and playgrounds are the under-appreciated jewels of our park system. But too many have languished for decades without adequate upgrades and renovations — especially in our low- and moderate-income neighborhoods,” said Council Member Mark Levine, chair of the committee on parks, in a statement. “The Community Parks Initiative has injected new life into dozens of these special places already, and I am thrilled that nine more parks will now be receiving similar investments.”
Abraham Lincoln Playground has gone neglected for decades. Its last major renovation occurred in 1987, when the parks department planted new trees, renovated bathrooms, replaced the swing set and repaved the park, according to the parks department website.
The Community Parks Initiative was launched in 2014 to improve historically overlooked small parks in growing neighborhoods with greater than average rates of poverty, according to the announcement. The program is funded through the mayor’s office. Since selecting 35 sites for inclusion into the initiative in 2014, the program has expanded to include more parks every year, according to the announcement.
The eight other parks to receive inclusion in the Community Parks Initiative were Audubon Playground in Washington Heights, Garrison Playground, Playground 174, Playground 134 and Plimpton Playground in the Bronx, La Guardia Playground and Weeksville Playground in Brooklyn and Almeda Playground in Queens.
“At its core, the Community Parks Initiative is about making good on our promise of a strong, equitable city, giving once-overlooked neighborhood parks the resources they need to become true focal points of community life,” de Blasio said in a statement. “With more than 60 parks receiving full transformations – and targeted improvements and enhanced programming in more than 100 additional sites – CPI is a sustained commitment to high quality parks that serve all New Yorkers.”
Photo: Google Maps street view circa January 2013