GREENWICH VILLAGE — Minetta Playground has been known in recent years as more of a hangout for rats than for children.
It's still surrounded by chain-link fences, but the revamped play area on Sixth Avenue, between Minetta Lane and West Third Street, is about to become kid-friendly again.
The space is scheduled to reopen at the end of December, according to the Parks Department.
The $1.5 million makeover has brought blue and green play equipment, bucket-seat swings for young children, a drinking fountain, three chess tables and benches. The west side of the playground will also feature a spray shower.
The design, by Jon Ernsberger, recalls the history of the Village, according to a placard on the park's fence.
"With its many curving forms, the design evokes Minetta Brook, the small stream that once passed through the area," the sign reads. "Other accents throughout the park — inspired by the numerous mature red oaks and London plane trees that will be preserved — recall the forest environment that was present here 400 years ago."
The playground first opened in 1935. The adjacent McDonald's restaurant installed new play equipment there in 1996, according to the Parks Department's website.
When construction on the new design kicked off in July 2010, Village parents told DNAinfo that they traveled to playgrounds farther from home rather than to Minetta Playground, which they explained was dangerous and dirty.
A Parks Department spokesman said work on the playground was delayed from its original fall 2011 completion date because of "difficulties with the contractor" that have been resolved.