HELL'S KITCHEN — Talk about spending a lot on your kids.
The Matthews-Palmer Playground on West 45th Street between Ninth and 10th Avenues will soon get a $1.8 million overhaul, according to city officials.
The popular Hell's Kitchen park, which opened in 1937, will see a full reconstruction, a Parks Department spokesman said, including new playground equipment, a safety surface, pavement and landscaping.
City Council Speaker Christine Quinn directed the funds to the half-acre park, which falls in her district, as part of the 2013 budget.
The project is still in its early stages, the Parks Department said, with no construction schedule, though the department will consult with Community Board 4 before moving forward with any specific new design.
The news was greeted with praise from locals, who have long sought city attention for their park.
"I think the park could use a lot of attention," said Chana Widawski, the chair of the West 45th Street Block Association.
"The park has attracted some negative activity — drugs and loitering — just a lot of negative energy, so we want to infuse it with positive energy."
Over the past few years, the block association organized movie nights, yoga classes and concerts in the park.
They've also helped re-paint a giant train covered in see-saws and other playthings on the south side of the park, and there are plans to rehabilitate a historic mural on its north side.
Widawski said that the block association is looking forward to hearing the Parks Department's plans for the park, and hopes that it coincides with their ongoing improvement projects.
"We'd love to make it greener," she said. "Anything that we can do to support it being a public, outdoor, free community center."