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UWS Playground to Get New Equipment in $705K Upgrade

By Emily Frost | October 20, 2015 4:42pm
 The playground renovation will begin in August of 2016, the Parks Department said. 
Bennerson Playground Renovation
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UPPER WEST SIDE — A local playground near the Amsterdam Houses and the new Riverside Center development will get a major facelift beginning this summer, the Parks Department announced.

Samuel Bennerson Playground — bounded by West 63rd and 64th streets between Amsterdam and West End avenues — will get outfitted with new play equipment, benches and picnic tables, spray showers and spruced-up fencing, the agency said.

Funded by Borough President Gale Brewer and the Parks Department, the $705,000 renovation will replace the current 17-year-old play equipment with brand-new structures and add new landscaping around the perimeter, among other upgrades, said agency landscape architect Katherine Bridges.

In addition, the Parks Department has already planned a $1.55 million upgrade to the playground's basketball courts and entrance, previously funded by Brewer and City Councilwoman Helen Rosenthal, to make them more attractive and functional.

The play space will have two separate play areas — one aimed at 2- to 5-year-old kids and the other for 5 to 12-year-olds — both featuring new equipment that's partially ADA- accessible.

The play structures, manufactured by Game Time, will be blue- and tangerine-colored, with "lighter" and "airier" forms, Bridges said.

"There’s lots of slides and climbing [opportunities]" on the play structures, she added, and both areas will boast play panels featuring moveable parts that are accessible to wheelchair users. A playhouse on the ground level of the older kids area will be accessible to differently abled children, she noted.

The upgrades will all include tan-colored rubber safety matting underneath the play structures, eight new benches along the West 64th Street perimeter and a paintjob for the surrounding fences. All of the planters will get new plantings and mulch, as well, Bridges said. 

Four user-activated spray jets and a u-shaped spray loop kids can run through will be added, as well as four picnic tables, one of which has space for a wheelchair to roll up to. 

"I’m glad about everything that’s coming into Bennerson," said Marguerita Curet, president of the Amsterdam Houses Resident Association. "We only have basketball, basketball, basketball. There’s really nothing there for the children. The children don’t have anything, so this is really great."

It's easier from an engineering perspective to combine both phases of the project — the $1.55 million renovation to the basketball courts and surrounding area and the $705,000 playground renovation — Bridges explained. 

Both phases are estimated to begin in August of 2016. The project is expected to be completed in the spring of 2017, the Parks Department said. 

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