The playground provides new community amenities and improves the health of the Harlem River. On June 7, 2019, the Department of Parks and Recreation announced the completion of an $8 million upgrade to Saw Mill Playground in the Mott Haven section of the Bronx. The playground is located on East 139th Street between Brook and Willis Avenues.
The upgrades were made under the Community Parks Initiative. Mayor Bill de Blasio launched the Community Parks Initiative in 2014 to invest in playgrounds located in densely populated neighborhoods of the City that have higher-than-average concentrations of poverty. The City is investing $318 million to make renovations to 67 playgrounds through the Community Parks Initiative.
The reconstructed Saw Mill Playground features updated basketball courts, new play equipment, fitness equipment for children, a synthetic turf field, spray showers and a multi-purpose area. The playground also has handball courts and a painted track. A comfort station will open in the fall.
The project received $6.6 million from the Mayor’s office and $1.4 million from the Department of Environmental Protection. The funding from the Department of Environmental Protection went toward green infrastructure in the playground to help manage stormwater runoff that will improve the health of the nearby Harlem River. The green infrastructure will be able to capture 1.3 million gallons of stormwater every year. The Department of Environmental Protection has dedicated $50 million in funding for green infrastructure at Community Parks Initiative sites.
NYC Parks’ Bronx Borough Commissioner Iris Rodriguez stated, “We are elated to cut the ribbon on the transformed Saw Mill Playground. With the new amenities and features, we are confident it will be a community hub.”
Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Vincent Sapienza stated, “DEP is proud to be a partner in NYC Parks’ Community Parks Initiative which is transforming neighborhood parks across the city. We are always looking for ways in which we can reduce the stormwater that enters our sewer system and we were able to do just that with this project at Saw Mill Playground. The newly installed green infrastructure at this playground will help to reduce stormwater runoff, improve the health of the Harlem River, and beautify the neighborhood.”
To read the full press release, click here.
By: Veronica Rose (Veronica is the CityLaw fellow and a New York graduate, Class of 2018.)