New York CIty Council Member Ben Kallos

Upper East Side Patch Yearlong Project To Upgrade Carl Schurz Playground Breaks Ground by Brendan Krisel

Yearlong Project To Upgrade Carl Schurz Playground Breaks Ground

UPPER EAST SIDE, NY — A $3.3 million renovation that is expected to take at least one year to complete broke ground Thursday at Carl Schurz Park's playground.

The project will result in upgraded play equipment, additional swings, a new spray shower, new game tables, plantings and benches and a set of ADA-accessible ramps connecting with Catbird Playground, city Parks Department officials said Thursday. It's an ambitious plan for a playground that hasn't seen considerable investment in years and is one of the "gems" of the Upper East Side, Manhattan Borough Commissioner for the Parks Department Bill Castro said Thursday.

For City Councilmember Ben Kallos, renovations to the playground are personal. The local lawmaker played in Carl Schurz Park while growing up in the neighborhood and now takes his daughter to the playground, he said Thursday.

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"A lot of parents have brought concern about the condition of the equipment — at one point there was actually plywood up," Kallos said. "Thankfully that is now down but this park has been desperately in need of an upgrade."

Kallos and the City Council allocated $2.5 million in funding for the project. Another major backer was Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, whose office allocated $775,000.

Brewer said Thursday that she frequents Carl Schurz Park often for events at Gracie Mansion and always notices how many community members utilize the rare green space on the Upper East Side.

"People love it, the community uses it... so to be renovating this is special," Brewer said Thursday.

Parks officials said Thursday that the renovation project is expected to take one year to complete. The city originally planned to break ground in the summer, but Kallos convinced the Parks Department to delay the project so Upper East Side families could use the playground during the busy season.

The smaller Catbird Playground at the north end of the playground will remain open during the renovation.

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