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Re-Opening of South Slope Playground Delayed Until Late June

PARK SLOPE — A heavily used South Slope playground that's been closed for more than a year won't reopen until at least late June, officials told disappointed families this week.

The playground at Slope Park, on Sixth Avenue between 18th and 19th streets, is being renovated. Locals were originally told the spruced-up play space would reopen early this spring, said Aaron Brashear of Concerned Citizens of Greenwood Heights.

"First it was March, then it was May, now it's late June," Brashear said. "The frustration is that at the time folks need that park the most, it's going to be closed."

City Councilwoman Sara Gonzalez, who represents the area and allocated $2 million of her discretionary budget toward the playground's makeover, announced the new delays in an email to neighbors this week.

The renovations were slowed after changes were made to the project to create better drainage in the park, said Park Department spokeswoman Megan Lalor.  "Such changes to the original design require some time to process but the result will be a more sustainable park," Lalor said.

Workers also discovered damage to the park's bathroom during construction that required more work than anticipated. Gonzalez chipped in another $100,000 to that effort.

When finished, the renovated park will feature new play equipment, a water feature, new seating and plantings. Entrances will be wheelchair-accessible, and so will some of the play equipment, a spokesman for Gonzalez said.

The playground, which is right next door to P.S. 295 and a few blocks from P.S. 10, is packed during warmer weather, and it's become even more popular in recent years as young families priced out of central Park Slope have flocked to the South Slope, Brashear said.

"My children are really anxious for the playground to reopen," said P.S. 10 mom Stephanie Hochman in an email.

"They always ask us to drive by the park to check out the progress. We never seem to see much change. We miss having the option of going to Slope Park, which is closer to our home than Harmony Playground. Whole families used to hang out there; it was like a neighborhood gathering."