Sunset Park celebrated Earth Day in a very special way – by cutting the ribbon on its newly renovated athletic field.
Parks Commissioner Kevin Jeffrey, Councilmember Sara Gonzalez, and members of Community Board 7, the 72nd Precinct and other local organizations came out to Sunset Park on Monday, April 22 for the fanfare.
The new, multi-purpose synthetic field will be used year-round for softball, youth baseball and soccer. The project also includes new recreation lights so night games can be played, new dugouts, fencing, a walking track, drinking fountains, landscaping and a refurbished comfort station. The surrounding path and plaza were also repaved and landscaped with new benches. The field and bathrooms are all handicapped-accessible.
The renovation was funded by a $3.2 million allocation from Gonzalez’s office and $1.2 million from Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
Students from P.S. 169 – including Gonzalez’s granddaughter – opened the ceremony with the Pledge of Allegiance.
“I am proud to be here and stand in a park that I grew up in. I am so excited that our children will have an environment to grow up in, too,” the councilmember said. “Sunset Park is 126 years old. Isn’t that awesome? We have to care about parks because we help the environment with them.”
Gonzalez thanked Parks Department employees and local community activists for helping make the renovation a reality.
“Visions begin at the community board level and the councilmember becomes a quarterback that makes it happen,” she said. “The park is really for the children. Continue to support your community boards, speak and schools and talk with your principals.”
Jeffrey presented Gonzalez with her own green pinstriped jersey with her name and the number “38,” representing the council district she serves, before the ceremonial ribbon was cut.
“This park belongs to all of us,” Gonzalez concluded.
Attendants were given also iris bulbs to take home and plant, courtesy of the Parks Department, as part of the Earth Day celebration.