On Tuesday, local elected officials, community leaders and Parks Department brass officially cut the ribbon on the reconstructed Bensonhurst Park Playground on Cropsey Avenue, a seaside park that is cut in half by the Belt Parkway.
The park, which has not been renovated since the 1980s and previously showed evidence of deterioration, dates back to the 1890s. At that time, the City of Brooklyn purchased around 16 acres from the Benson and Lynch families for a total of $88,000. Two smaller parcels were later acquired by condemnation in 1924 and 1944. Bensonhurst Park is one of 26 parks that are crossed by the parkway.
The Bensonhurst Park Playground reconstruction project upgraded the park’s amenities and features new play equipment including swings, water play elements, an adjacent path system and sitting areas at the north end of the park. The $7.86 million project was funded by Mayor Bill de Blasio and Councilmember Justin Brannan. DAILY TOP BROOKLYN NEWSNews for those who live, work and play in Brooklyn and beyond
“Bensonhurst Park is back! Colossal thanks to the NYC Parks Department for their diligent work, completing this project in the middle of a pandemic! Because of their commitment, parents now have a brand-new playground to take their kids to plus new benches and safe paths,” said Brannan. “This is a park that really needed some serious love. It hadn’t seen any since the 1980s, and that was not acceptable to me or to anyone.”
“As commissioner, I’ve prioritized working to ensure that all New Yorkers have access to quality parks, and it’s outstanding to see these underused spaces transformed into community assets,” said New York City Parks Commissioner Mitchell Silver. “Thanks to funding from Mayor Bill de Blasio and City Council Member Justin Brannan, the redesigned greenspace offers fun new features like swing sets and water play elements for children and families to enjoy for years to come.”
Since Silver became parks commissioner in 2014, the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation has completed more than 800 capital projects across the five boroughs, according to a Parks Department statement. The department’s 10-year capital budget is $5.2 billion, and the completed projects during the past seven years represents a $1.96 billion investment.
Reviews of the park on Yelp from 2014 and 2015, before the renovations began, referred to homeless people in the park and people drinking alcohol and smoking pot there, although it also referred to “old folks doing t’ai chi.” A Bklyner article from 2015 described benches that were broken, tree stumps, potholes and loose bricks.