Speaker Adrienne Adams welcomed young students from P.S. 40 Samuel Huntington Elementary School to the reopening of Jamaica Playground after a $4.6 million reconstruction project and turned a ribbon-cutting ceremony into a teachable moment for the youngsters on Sept. 27.
“For far too long, neighborhoods like ours have been overlooked, under-resourced, and left without many of the infrastructure investments that our residents need to thrive, ” Adams said. “Generations of young people grew up with inadequate and outdated public spaces that did not reflect the beauty of this neighborhood and the people who call it home” — people like the members of Community Board 12 and the South Jamaica Houses Tenants Association, who were all too familiar with the Speaker’s message to the children.
“I have made it my mission to tackle these long-standing inequities that disproportionately impact communities of color like ours,” Adams continued. “Our residents, our youth, and Southeast Queens deserve better, and we’re here today to deliver on that promise.”
Queens Borough President Donovan Richards expounded on the Speaker’s welcoming remarks to the youngsters and the community members that joined them at the newly reopened playground located at Brinkerhoff Avenue and Union Hall Street.
“Every single Queens family deserves high-quality park space in their community, regardless of ZIP code or socioeconomic status. But for far too long, our city has fallen behind when it comes to investing in that kind of open space across Southeast Queens. The $4.6 million new Jamaica Playground and its many state-of-the-art amenities flips that script, however,” Richards said. “Finally, Jamaica families have a park that is worthy of them. It’s why I’m proud to have invested $36 million into our parks during my tenure as Borough President and it’s why I’m proud to continue to partner with the Parks Department to deliver more play spaces like the Jamaica Playground to communities across Queens.”
As a part of the $4.6 million transformation of Jamaica Playground, the children’s play area now includes brand new play equipment for children ages 2-5 and 5-12, as well as newly installed ground level play panels offer universally accessible sensory experiences for children. The revamped spray shower includes new ground sprays to provide additional recreation space during the cold months when water is not in use.
The existing full-size basketball court has been relocated and reconstructed with the addition of two new basketball keys to serve as practice courts. A new seating area offers ample benches and game tables for park users and new trees and plantings have been incorporated throughout the site to offer increased shade. Site access and circulation throughout the playground have also been improved, now featuring universally accessible ramps to provide easy and direct access to the renovated playground.
“Neighborhood parks like Jamaica Playground are the focal points of fun for countless children, and we could not be more excited to unveil these new amenities,” said NYC Parks Commissioner Sue Donoghue. “For nearly 80 years, Jamaica Playground has served a vital purpose in the community, giving kids increased opportunities for connection, play, and learning, and with these new amenities, we hope this playground will continue to inspire well into the future.”
The $4.6 million Jamaica Playground renovation was made possible with funding from the Mayor’s Office — and there is more investment in the pipeline. The speaker closed out her remarks telling the crowd that she has allocated an additional $4.8 million to create a new space in Jamaica Playground that can be used for running, adult fitness, agility course and more.
“This is the type of community investment and public space that the people of this community deserve,” Adams said. Our parks and playgrounds are sacred — they are where we exercise, bring our children to play, and spend time with our friends and neighbors. I am grateful to work alongside partners in government and our community who are fighting these inequities and paving the way for a brighter future for our children and generations to come.”