HARLEM — Sandra Talevera says her 5-year-old grandson is not impressed with Central Park.
At his summer camp, she said, he tries to pressure his counselors to take him to East Harlem’s White Park.
“He’s a little advocate,” said Talevera. “He goes to Central Park, but he says, ‘Abuela, I want to go to White Park.'”
The park, at 106th between Lexington and Third avenues, was formally unveiled at a community event Thursday morning, revealing a $3.3 million upgrade to the facility, which was once in disrepair.
It bears the name of civil rights icon Walter White who led many of the efforts of the NACCP during 1950s and 1960s.
Kids cheerfully ran the park’s new running track, climbed the rope wall, dribbled on the courts, swung on the swings and splashed around in the interactive sprinklers. The park also has a number of accessibility upgrades for the disabled.
"This park belongs to the children and families of El Barrio," said city Parks Commissioner Mitchell Silver.
Elected officials and community leaders also attended the ribbon-cutting and admired the design. The funds came from the mayor’s office, City Council and the Manhattan Borough President’s office using taxpayer dollars.
“This park has seen some renovations over the years, but we knew it was abundantly clear it needed more work,” said Melissa Mark-Viverito, the city council speaker whose district includes East Harlem.
Mark-Viverito said the renovations were five to six years in the making. City Comptroller Scott Stringer, in his previous position as borough president, said he worked with the city to allocate much of the funds.
“I have been looking for a park like this. I have a 4-year-old,” he said, noting the park’s shady tree-lined bench seating. “I need a place to rest and you gave it to me.”
Talevera, the grandmother, said that she hopes to see more renovations.
“I hope all community parks fall into this model,” she said.