Mayor Bloomberg and Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe today broke ground on improvements to Soundview Park in the Bronx, one of the eight regional parks being transformed under PlaNYC, the City’s long-term plan for a greener, greater New York. The regional parks address the need for open space and more recreational facilities for an expanding population. The work at Soundview Park will include the construction of more than $15 million in new amenities, including a track and field with a synthetic turf soccer field, a playground, sports court, comfort station, and outdoor amphitheater with an overlook and access path. The Mayor was joined at the groundbreaking by Deputy Mayors Patricia E. Harris and Linda Gibbs, Commissioner Benepe, Executive Director of New York City’s Center for Economic Opportunity Veronica M. White, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr., State Senator José M. Serrano and Assembly Member Marcos A. Crespo.
“We are keeping our commitment to sustainability and improving our City’s quality of life by investing in the green spaces of the future,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “These improvements to Soundview Park move us closer to the signature goals of PlaNYC – restoring regional parks to their full potential and ensuring that every New York City resident lives within a 10-minute walk of a park or playground.”
“Thanks to Mayor Bloomberg’s vision, we are currently in the era of the largest park expansion since the Works Progress Administration days of the 1930s,” said Commissioner Benepe. “The improvements to Soundview Park are one of the eight PlaNYC regional park projects that aim to meet the needs of the city’s growing population. With McCarren Pool soon to open, the High Bridge soon to begin its rehabilitation, and a host of projects currently in the works, progress is being achieved throughout the five boroughs.”
Soundview Park was built on a landfill in the South Bronx. Today the 205-acre park offers six grass baseball fields, a cricket pitch, a running track, a soccer field, six basketball courts, six handball courts, and walking/biking paths. Even with those facilities, there was the potential for improved amenities to better serve the growing South Bronx community. After receiving extensive community input, the design consultants Thomas Balsley Associates developed a master plan that creates centers of activity close to local neighborhoods.
The plan calls for the reconstruction of the existing track with a new rubberized surface, and the existing soccer field will be rebuilt with synthetic turf to allow for year-round play. A new park path will be created that connects the Seward Avenue park entrance to the reconstructed running track. The area will also feature bleacher seating, lighting fixtures, and an outdoor adult fitness center with a misting station. The next phases of the Soundview Park project include reconstructing the existing playground while building a new comfort station at Metcalf Avenue. A natural amphitheater with a performance lawn will be constructed in line with Roseland Avenue, alongisde a new park entrance and pathway.
Other regional parks being developed as part of PlaNYC include the High Bridge and Fort Washington Park in Manhattan; McCarren Pool and Calvert Vaux Park in Brooklyn; the Ocean Breeze Indoor Track and Field Facility on Staten Island; and Highland Park and Rockaway Beach in Queens.