GRAVESEND — Parks Commissioner Mitchell Silver led the way as officials held a ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate the reopening of Lafayette Playground on Oct. 24 following a $4.5 million renovation that gave the park a new walking trail, a basketball court, adult fitness equipment, a new garden and classroom space.
Silver was joined by Brooklyn Parks Commissioner Martin Maher, Councilmember Mark Treyger, Assemblymember William Colton, Community Board 13 District Manager Eddie Mark and other officials.
The renovation of the 1.19-acre park, located at Stillwell and Benson avenues at Bay 43rd St., was funded through the Community Parks Initiative, a program Mayor Bill de Blasio started in 2014 to revitalize recreational areas located in high-density neighborhoods. To date, the city has spent $318 million and renovated 67 parks through the initiative.
“We are thrilled to cut the ribbon on this revamped community green space. Thanks to the mayor’s Community Parks Initiative, Lafayette Playground has been transformed with new amenities and opportunities for active and passive recreation for all ages to enjoy,” Silver said.
Lafayette Playground is located in the vicinity of several schools, including the Lafayette Educational Complex, John Dewey High School and P.S. 212.
Treyger, a Democrat representing Coney Island, Gravesend and parts of Bensonhurst, fought to have parks in Southwest Brooklyn included in the Community Parks Initiative and then pushed for Lafayette Playground to be put on the list and worked to secure the funding.
“I’m elated to see this project finished so that the children, seniors and families in our community can enjoy the new and enhanced Lafayette Playground and green space. I’m committed to ensuring that our parks in Southern Brooklyn are receiving the care and investment that’s been missing for many years, and that they become beautiful, well-maintained outdoor spaces for local residents to appreciate,” Treyger said.
The playground actually re-opened in July 2019 but the ribbon-cutting took place on Thursday.
The Parks Department incorporated into the design elements that had been suggested by local residents during a pre-design scoping meeting, officials said.
“The Parks Department has gotten input from the neighbors to make this playground something the residents can use year round. We know generations of children will use this playground for years to come,” Mark said.
Maher called the renovation “among the most transformative reconstructions I’ve ever seen in my 35 years at New York City Parks,” and said the playground “is now a vibrant community hub with greenery, adult fitness equipment, a basketball court and so much more.”