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City breaks ground early on Bergen Beach Playground makeover

New slides coming soon!: The Parks Department plans to make many changes to the tired Bergen Beach Playground, including installing a synthetic turf field, interactive play equipment, and spray showers.
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Well that’s a first!

The Parks Department is — uncharacte­ristically — months ahead of schedule and last week broke ground early to gussy up the shabby Bergen Beach Playground on E. 51st Street. Youngsters in the neighborhood have had to trek elsewhere just to use some solid, clean monkey bars and slides, so it’s about time there will finally be a nice community park, said one mother, whose kids attend the neighboring school PS 312.

“I’m very excited, the park is actually quite disgusting, I haven’t gone in a while because it’s filthy but also not that great,” said Jessica Konner, who lives just a few blocks away. “I heard the plans are going to be beautiful. Everybody in the neighborhood is very excited — for all the amenities, the monkey bars, the new swings, everything.”

The Parks Department closed off the playground, between Avenues N and T, last week to start the long-awaited $4-million renovation, forcing pupils who attend PS 312 to release all their energy in the school gym or auditorium during recess instead, according to Konner.

But once completed, in about a year, youngsters can enjoy updated basketball courts, play equipment, spray showers, and a synthetic turf field, according to a spokeswoman for the Parks Department.

The newly renovated park will also boast adult fitness equipment and fresh green plantings, according to the plans.

In the meantime, kids can run wild at nearby Hickman Playground on Veterans Avenue and Jacob Joffe Park on Avenue K, a spokeswoman said.

And just next door, on an empty, Department of Education-owned plot at E. 71st Street and Avenue N, the city plans to transform the space into a teaching garden that will promote the importance of healthy eating by allowing students to grow their own fresh fruits and veggies.

Reach reporter Julianne Cuba at (718) 260–4577 or by e-mail at jcuba@cnglocal.com. Follow her on Twitter @julcuba.
Updated 1:34 am, July 10, 2018
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