Running, playing, throwing, catching – Dutch Kills Playground is used daily by BSGE students for gym class. It is located next to P.S. 112 and regularly visited by children, adults, and seniors living in the community. The park has not been renovated for 20 years until now, when Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer and Queens Parks Commissioner Dorothy Lewandowski announced on April 12, 2016 that they acquired $4.5 million in funding from Mayor DeBlasio to renovate Dutch Kills Playground.
“Our children come to this playground every day, and they deserve a modern, up-to-date park to use during recess, gym class, and with their families and neighbors on the weekends. Our parks and public spaces are an integral part of the fabric of our communities,” Van Bramer said.
On April 18 at 6 p.m., the Parks Department hosted a meeting at P.S. 112 where community members were able to share their ideas and opinions on what changes they wanted to see. In the end, it turns out that the renovation, expected to take up to three years, most likely won’t affect BSGE’s gym classes. The majority of the renovation money, about $2.5 million, is dedicated to a “comfort station,” also known as a bathroom, and the playground area. It is unclear yet if the renovation is going to affect the rink area or the basketball and handball courts.
Margaret Pasach, BSGE’s parent coordinator, attended the meeting. She later said, “We had wanted to get a soccer field or softball field but they said they don’t have the money for it.” Therefore, she explained, “It doesn’t look like any changes that they’re making are going to be really beneficial for us. Right now there will only be a bathroom upgrade and a playground upgrade which will be for the elementary kids.”
The park renovation is currently in the planning process, so construction won’t happen for over a year. The playground will have to be closed during construction and there is a possibility that the rest of the park will also be closed down when construction begins. If so, it would last for one to two years. It is quite possible that BSGE will have to find another place for gym class until eventually, the renovation finishes.