This winter is making us hope so hard for an early, COVID-19 free summer. Or at least one where most of us are vaccinated and can safely enjoy the breeze, and the new sprinklers at the Bensonhurst Playground.
But sprinklers are not the only improvement the $7.8 million project brings to the park that opened to the public this week. The Bensonhurst Park Playground reconstruction project completely upgraded the park’s amenities and features new play equipment, including swings, water play elements, an adjacent path system, and sitting areas at the north end of the park.
NYC Parks Brooklyn Borough Commissioner Martin Maher thanked community members for their advocacy of the project, and elected officials for the funds – it is indeed looking much better than back in 2015, when we reported it “rife with hazards. Benches were collapsed and broken, the sidewalk was full of tree stumps, potholes, and loose bricks, and caution tape was everywhere. The restroom area was still bombed out and shuttered.” It was also among city parks with the highest incidence of playground injury lawsuits, according to a 2015 Comptroller report.
Fast forward 5 years, and some serious cash and the playground is spick and span.
“Bensonhurst Park is back! Colossal thanks to the NYC Parks Department for their diligent work, completing this project in the middle of a pandemic! Because of their commitment, parents now have a brand-new playground to take their kids to plus new benches and safe paths,” said City Council Member Justin Brannan.
“This is a park that really needed some serious love. It hadn’t seen any since the 1980s and that was not acceptable to me or to anyone. By the time we’re done, we will completely overhaul this entire park so it can be the world-class recreational area that hardworking people deserve,” Brannan hopes.
Bensonhurst Park traces its origins to 1891, when the City of Brooklyn passed a local law calling for “the establishment and government of a public park in the town of New Utrecht, to be known as Bensonhurst Park.”
In 1895, the city of Brooklyn bought about 16 acres of land from the Benson and Lynch families for a total of $88,000, according to City records. Two smaller lots were acquired in 1924 and 1944, and together form the present-day park.