By Paula Katinas
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Children with physical disabilities deserve to have as much fun on a playground as their more able-bodied peers, according to two Borough Park lawmakers, who are the key figures behind the construciton of a new recreation area that includes amenities for youngsters in wheelchairs.
Councilman David Greenfield and state Sen. Simcha Felder cut the ribbon on a new playground behind PS 192 on 18th Avenue and 48th Street in Borough Park on Tuesday.
Brooklyn Parks Commissioner Kevin Jeffrey and P.S. 192 Principal Liset Issac were also on hand to welcome the new playground.
To ensure that all children have a space in which to play, Greenfield and Felder made sure that the playground contained play equipment with ramps, ground level play features, accessible swings, wheelchair-accessible tables and wheelchair-accessible drinking fountains.
The new park is one of few in Brooklyn that include specific features for physically disabled children, according to Greenfield (D-Borough park-Midwood-Bensonhurst).
The playground will serve thousands of Borough Park residents who previously lacked access to outdoor space within a reasonable proximity, the councilman said.
“I'm so proud that we have literally turned a wasteland into a beautiful new park in our community. As a councilman, funding our community’s parks has been one of my top priorities because everyone enjoys our parks. We all need open space to enjoy some fresh air, exercise and play with our kids and grandkids,” Greenfield said.
Both Greenfield and Felder (D-Borough Park-Midwood) poured funding into the multi-million dollar project.
The park’s amenities include a large running track, a tennis court, basketball hoops, two new turf fields, a tot lot, an area for 5 to 12 year-olds, maps and games painted on the asphalt and more than 25 trees and numerous benches.
“For many years, the standard joke was that Borough Park didn’t have any parks. Thanks to the Schoolyards to Playgrounds Program and the additional resources which both Councilman Greenfield and I secured, this park promises to be one of the best in the City,” said Felder, chair man of the senate’s Children and Families Committee and New York City Education Subcommittee.
The Schoolyards to Playground program was an initiative that started under the Bloomberg Administration. The goal is to convert unused school yards into public parks.
“The opening of this park has long been eagerly awaited by the entire community,” Felder added.
Students at PS 192 will use the park during school hours, and the public will have complete access to it after school and on weekends and holidays until dusk.
Greenfield said he is working to renovate every park and playground in his council district including Gravesend Park, Seth Low Park, Di Gilio Playground, Friends Field, Kolbert Park, Colonel Marcus Playground and the Ocean Parkway Malls.