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MAP: Upper West Side Parks Getting More Than $12M in Upgrades This Year

By Emily Frost | January 6, 2015 7:32am
 The parks and playgrounds will get large facelifts stemming from private and public funding.
Major Renovations Planned for UWS Parks in 2015
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UPPER WEST SIDE — Local parks and playgrounds are getting more than $12 million in renovations in 2015.

Major projects underway or planned for the Upper West Side include $3 million in improvements to the Central Park reservoir running track and $2.5 million in upgrades to Riverside Park's bike path, dog run and playground equipment.

Funding for the projects — which totals $6.6 million for parks and $5.95 million for playgrounds — comes from a mix of public money and private donations, according to the Parks Department and the Central Park Conservancy.

The work will force portions of the parks to close during construction, in many cases for more than six months.

To see which parks and playgrounds are getting renovated this year, click on the map and read below:

Park Renovations in 2015: 

Booker T. Washington Middle School basketball and handball courts

The basketball and handball courts on West 108th Street between Amsterdam and Columbus avenues have long been on the Parks Department's list and will now get an $800,000 renovation beginning in spring or summer 2015. The renovation will include a new NBA regulation-length basketball court and nets, new handball courts, new benches, four new trees and a set of adult workout equipment along the perimeter. The courts will be closed for six to eight months, the Parks Department said.

Central Park reservoir running track

Renovations on the running track that winds around the reservoir in the middle of the park started in 2014 and will finish later this year. The Central Park Conservancy is repaving the track to fix erosion and runoff issues. The $3 million renovation project is happening in sections to allow runners and walkers to continue using the track during the work.

Septuagesimo Uno

This tiny West 70th Street pocket park will get a $300,000 renovation beginning in spring 2015. The park's uneven flooring will be redone to make it wheelchair-accessible, and new benches and flower beds will go in. The park's frequent flooding will also be addressed with the installation of permeable pavement.

Riverside Park at West 72nd Street

A $2.5 million renovation, expected to begin in the second half of 2015, will enlarge the bike path and update the Riverside South Dog Run and the ballpark in this area. There will be new adult fitness equipment, play equipment and a climbing wall for kids. In addition, a large shade structure will cover Pier I, which is underutilized because it sits in the direct sun, the Parks Department said. The work will last about 18 months.

Playground Renovations in 2015:

Playground 89

The controversial playground — the redesign of which was debated by locals for countless hours  — will get a $950,000 upgrade beginning in summer 2015. The uneven pavement and amphitheater steps will be removed to make the playground safer for children, according to the Parks Department. There will be new spray fountains and a gentler slope between the two distinct areas to prevent tripping, the department said. 

Adventure Playground

While work on this playground was supposed to start this past summer, it actually began in December 2014. Adventure Playground and Wild West Playground, both on the West Side of Central Park, are together receiving $5 million in upgrades, funded by private donations to the Central Park Conservancy. The work is part of a larger plan to renovate all of the park's playgrounds.

The playground will become more accessible, gain new play features and upgrades to its landscaping and pathways. The work will last about five months, during which time the space will be closed.

Wild West Playground

Construction on this Central Park playground began in June 2014 and is expected to wrap up in the spring of 2015. The project will create differentiated play areas for older and younger kids, along with adding new user-activated water features and landscaping to make the playground feel more a part of the park, Conservancy staff said.  

Playground Renovations Planned for 2016:

Samuel N. Bennerson Playground basketball courts and playground

Looking ahead to next year, the two basketball courts at this playground will be renovated, and new benches will be added as well as new swings and adult exercise equipment. The $1.5 million renovation is set to begin in spring 2016.