Thursday, August 28, 2008

Playground Updates, part 2: Hope for the Future

Several Sunset Park parents have been actively working towards a better playground for local children. Along the way, there is some good news that hasn't yet gotten out to the community in full force. The playground, and much of the park, is set to get a total overhaul by the summer of 2010. Some of the general park renovations have already been completed - repaving of the 44th Street side, some benches replaced, a new bike rack, new plants/trees planted - and some future renovations include park building renovations (does this mean the bathroom will have consistently working sinks?) and, of course, the playground.

According to a letter one parent received from Sara González, here are some things we can look forward to:

The playground will be completely renovated, updated, and modernized. There will be space for mini soccer and little league baseball, new fencing, new paint, and all of the other amenities you would expect in one of the City’s best parks. Also, the synthetic turf will not consist of crushed tire, but rather a different, cooler product that will ensure there is no overheating of the ground our children are playing on. These renovations are expected to be complete by 2010.

On the phone with one of our parents, Michael Schweinsburg, Gonzalez' communications director, confirmed that the playground's new surfacing and equipment are included in the overall renovation of Sunset Park. According to Mr. Schweinsburg, the plans and/or a schedule for this renovation can be viewed at the Recreation Center. Guess we'll be checking that out.

Sometime this fall, the Request for Proposal will go out, and then bids will be accepted from construction companies. Once a bid has been accepted, we can expect to see work beginning.

In addition, to alleviate the over-crowding in the Sunset Park playground, the local school playgrounds will be open for general public use during the summer of 2009. My impression was that the playgrounds are supposed to be open to the public when school is out anyway, but it's great to have that "officially" confirmed.

It all sounds lovely, and what's left for concerned parents to do? Well, getting a look at the proposed plans and continuing to alert local officials and 311 about dangerous and just gross situations in the playground and park will still be important. Although not an unusual time-line for City plans, two years is a long time to wait for a pleasant and safe play area for our children.

Thank you to the parents who have given up their time to check up on this situation and help us all to be productive gadflies for the benefit for all of our community's children.

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