As the Mayor’s office allocates $130 million to improving neglected parks, one Greenpoint mother on a mission is celebrating the $1.3 million that will go toward a playground that has long made her worry about her daughter’s safety.
Ingrid Kennedy and 200 other concerned parents and Greenpoint residents who make up the McGolrick Park Neighborhood Alliance helped raise the funds to renovate a play area in the park just north of Monitor Street.
Tomorrow they’ll celebrate their success by planting 1,000 daffodils there.
Kennedy says the park has fallen into disrepair since she moved to the area in 2003. Her five-year-old daughter loves to use its playground, but Kennedy believes it’s no longer safe for her due to broken glass, peeling paint, flooding, and lots of trash. “A kid could crack their head open” on a cement drinking fountain that isn’t low enough for them, she warns.
In the past, when her daughter was crawling at the playground, Kennedy worried about the “tar-like” substance that holds the tiles together. She says she had to “be on top of her so that she wouldn’t eat it.”
Kennedy helped distribute a poll asking the parents what they wanted the new playground to be like, and the alliance won the support of Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, Councilmember Stephen Levin, Brooklyn Parks Commissioner Kevin Jeffrey and Brooklyn Community Board #1. Now, the city has agreed to put $1.3 million toward a new drainage system to prevent flooding, a revamped playground with a water play area, a new drinking fountain, and ramps for accessibility.
The result, says Kennedy, will be a playground that is both safe, fun, and inclusionary for children with disabilities.
Of course, there are a few things that the parents want to keep. A cement slide in the shape of a whale, for instance, is “unique to our playground,” Kennedy remarks. The parents want to keep the flavor of the neighborhood alive in the park, so they plan to stick with an aquatic theme that speaks to the generations of residents who work in shipping.