Following years of debate and speculation, a local councilman announced Monday that an abandoned Sunnyside playground will be purchased and renovated, much to the delight of neighborhood residents.
After sitting vacant for around 30 years, Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer of District 26 has revealed his allocation of $3 million dollars to acquire and revamp Phipps Playground, preserving its legacy as one of the last depression-era playgrounds in the city.
The playground — which sits at the corner of 39th Avenue and 50th Street — was originally built for the Phipps Gardens Apartments, an affordable housing development across the street, but was then purchased in 2007 by DBH & Associates, a development company.
When DBH proposed a plan to develop the lot into residential units in 2013, they were met with fierce community backlash, which included Van Bramer, Community Board 2 and the Landmarks Preservation Committee, ultimately leading to the project being shut down.
The $3 million, allocated in partnership with Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, will cover the costs of purchasing the property from DBH & Associates and renovating the abandoned playground.
“I’m thrilled to have allocated this funding to turn this abandoned playground back into a beautiful green space that our whole community can enjoy,” Van Bramer said. “Community members have been advocating for this space to be turned into a public park for decades. Today, we are one step closer to making that dream a reality.”