Anchor Parks Initiative Reconstruction Begins at Brownsville’s Betsy Head Park

Malcolm Pinckney/NYC Parks

The $30 million reconstruction project brings brand new amenities to the historically underserved Brownsville park. On March 19, 2019, Department of Parks and Recreation Commissioner Mitchell J. Silver, Council Member Alicka Ampry-Samuel, Brooklyn Community Board 16, and local students and residents broke ground on the reconstruction of Betsy Head Park in Brownsville, Brooklyn. Betsy Head Park’s reconstruction is one of the five projects of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Anchor Parks Initiative, a $150 million project to reconstruct five major parks around the City. The project plans to bring major amenities to the parks such as new soccer fields, comfort stations, running tracks, and hiking trails.

The Betsy Head Park project is the fourth Anchor Park project to begin construction. The project has two phases, totaling $30 million in funding from Mayor de Blasio. The first phase involves re-envisioning and reconstructing the multi-purpose play area, basketball courts, active fitness area, and new skate park. This phase is worth $7 million and is anticipated to be completed in the spring of 2020. The second phase involves reconstructing the southern portion of the park, including a large field, sports courts, seating areas, and reconstruction of the comfort station. This phase is worth $23 million and will move into construction later this year. Mayor de Blasio and Council Member Ampry-Samuel also funded $4 million for a brand new comfort station in the Imagination Playground section of the park. Construction of the comfort station is expected to begin later this year.

The other parks in the Anchor Parks Project are Astoria Park in Queens, Highbridge Park in Manhattan, St. Mary’s Park in the Bronx, and Freshkills Park on Staten Island. The parks were chosen based on historical underinvestment, high surrounding population and potential for park development. More than 750,000 New Yorkers live within walking distance of the five Anchor Parks. The Anchor Parks Project compliment the Community Parks Initiative, which has targeted more than 60 small neighborhood parks with improvements like new playground equipment, benches, plantings and resurfaced playing courts.

“Betsy Head Park has been serving the Brownsville community for over a century, and this major Anchor Parks renovation will kick off a fresh start for its next 100 years,” said Parks Commissioner Silver. “With $30 million in funding to revamp this crucial neighborhood park, we can make Betsy Head the true Brooklyn destination it is meant to be.”


By: May Vutrapongvatana (May is a CityLaw intern, and a New York Law School student, Class of 2019).

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