This $30 million equity initiative will revamp and repair the beloved Brownsville neighborhood park. On March 31, 2021, Mayor Bill de Blasio and Commissioner Mitchell J. Silver joined to cut the ribbon on the second phase of the Betsy Head Park reconstruction. The popular park is located in Brownsville in Brooklyn.
The funding from the project comes from the Anchor Parks initiative, the reconstruction will cost $30 million in total with the second phase costing about $23 million. The Anchor Parks initiative was launched by Mayor de Blasio in 2016 and provides $150 million in city funding to the improvement of five city parks. The parks include: Astoria Park in Queens; Highbridge Park in Manhattan; Betsy Head Park in Brooklyn; St. Mary’s Park in the Bronx; and Freshkills Park in Staten Island.
Over 750,000 city residents live within walking distance of these five parks. Parks were selected for the Anchor Parks initiative based on historical underinvestment, surrounding population, and development potential. Betsy Head Park has been a presence in the Brownsville neighborhood for almost 100 years. The park serves as a nexus of activity and has seen numerous improvements over the years since its initial opening.
Phase one of the project consisted of the re-envisioning and reconstruction of the play area, basketball courts, fitness areas, and skate park all located in Betsy Head Park. The $7 million project was completed in June 2020.
Phase two of the reconstruction will focus on the southern portion of the park. The synthetic turf field, rubberized track, sports courts, seating areas, adult fitness equipment area, comfort station, and park utility building will all be reconstructed. This $23 million reconstruction phase is anticipated to be fully completed in Spring 2022.
Mayor Bill de Blasio stated, “Improving parks in historically underserved neighborhoods is key to a recovery for all of us. The new facilities and upgrades at Betsy Head Park, a critical community and green space for over 100 years, will serve Brownsville families for generations to come.”
New York City Department of Parks and Recreation Commissioner Mitchell J. Silver stated, “Betsy Head Park is a thriving community hub in the heart of Brownsville, and we are so excited to celebrate the transformative changes made to this greenspace. The entire Anchor Parks initiative has been about breathing new life into parks that have not seen investment in decades, and Betsy Head is another shining example of how important this work is as we revitalize and renew underserved communities. We want everyone in this neighborhood to beam with pride when they visit and enjoy this park.”
Congresswoman Yvette Clarke stated, “While the pandemic of the past year put our world on hold and forced us away from the things we hold dear, we have discovered a new appreciation for all that we once took for granted. Safe summer air in the great outdoors is there to be cherished as well as enjoyed. May the Betsy Head park serve the communities of the next hundred years half as well as it has served us.”
Council Member Alicka Ampry-Samuel stated, “Today is the beginning of the future of Brownsville. The renovation of Betsy Head Park speaks to the rebirth and renaissance of a community that has been historically neglected. Generations today and of the future will have a space that they can be proud of that will promote health, safety, and wellness.”
By: Patrick McNeill (Patrick is the CityLaw intern and a New York Law School student, Class of 2022.)