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Sunnier days ahead for Sunners: Flatlands playground getting $1M makeover

Upgrade: The Sunners Playground in Flatlands is set to get a $1-million facelift, which will include new equipment and a renovated safety surface to make it more accessible and inviting, according to the city’s Parks Deparment.
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Here comes the Sunners!

The city will invest $1 million in a makeover of Flatlands’s dilapidated Sunners Playground, a Department of Parks and Recreation spokeswoman said.

The Avenue H park between Kings Highway and E. 49th Street is set to receive upgrades including new fencing, equipment, and rubbery flooring covering parts of the blacktop playground, all of which will make it more inviting, according to agency rep Maeri Ferguson, who said her colleagues began the job’s design process in December after Flatlands Councilman Jumaane Williams allocated the funding for the project in July.

The playground’s design phase will run until the end of 2019, followed by a nine-month procurement period lasting until September 2020, and then a one-year construction period, which should wrap by October 2021, according to Ferguson.

The makeover couldn’t come at a better time, according to a local civic leader, who said Sunners Playground’s current facilities, and the rubbery flooring beneath them, have seen better days.

“The equipment is kind of old, and the ground where they put the rubber mats, that needs to be replaced,” said Sallie Bennett, the president of the Flatlands Flatbush Civic Group.

Parks Department reps presented a draft of the renovation plans to locals at a Dec. 19 meeting of Community Board 18 and its Parks Committee, where the city green-space leaders fielded questions and suggestions that helped attendees pinpoint specific needs at the triangular, less than quarter-of-an-acre playground, according to a committee member.

“It’s been really good that the community is given the chance of input, because whatever the Parks Department can put in the park is fabulous, but if it doesn’t meet the need of the neighborhood it doesn’t get used,” said Nancy Walby, the chairwoman of CB18’s Parks Committee.

Locals’ suggestions included adding the new rubbery flooring and updating the park’s equipment, while other ideas included installing new adult- and kid-friendly seating, as well as tables with checker-board patterns painted on, according to Walby.

And some neighborhood police officers with the 63rd Precinct also suggested installing more lighting at the play space, which the cops who regularly patrol it said can get quite dark come nightfall, Walby said.

Residents have until the end of the month to share their thoughts on the Sunners Playground redesign via the Parks Department’s website, according to the civic leader.

Reach reporter Kevin Duggan at (718) 260–2511 or by e-mail at kduggan@cnglocal.com. Follow him on Twitter @kduggan16.
Updated 10:57 am, January 3, 2019
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