Dutch Kills Playground reopens with new features

The newly renovated Dutch Kills Playground has reopened just in time for summer.

Last Thursday, the Parks Department joined Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer and students at PS 112 to cut the ribbon on the $4.5 million renovation project.

In addition to refurbishing the northern part of the playground area, the city is currently reconstructing the comfort station, which is set for completion later this winter.

The playground now features new accessible play equipment, a larger spray shower with water-saving controls and an adult fitness and exercise area. The basketball and handball courts were also renovated, the fences were lowered and damaged walls were repaired.
Other improvements include new plantings and canopy trees, additional seating and gathering areas, and a new, more welcoming entrance.

“Parks like this one support all generations of a community,” said Queens Parks Commissioner Michael Dockett. “They help us grow, give us a place to play and relax, and they bring neighbors together.”

The project was funded by both the mayor’s office and Van Bramer. The councilman noted one new feature of the expanded spray shower that resembles a windmill, which is a “nod to the early Dutch”

A windmill is also part of the Dutch Kills Civic Association’s logo.

“This playground is incredibly special,” Van Bramer said.

Thomas Brown, the Parks Department’s in-house landscape architect, said they chose the play equipment from the catalogue of one of their well-known and reliable equipment manufacturers.

“The idea behind that was that it would be paying tribute to not just the name Dutch Kills,” Brown said, “but also the actual history that led to this part of the neighborhood being named for it.”

“Kill” is a Dutch word meaning “little stream.” The neighborhood’s name comes from the 1643 Dutch settlement near the “kill” that then flowed to Newtown Creek.Brown added that the water-saving component of the spray shower comes from a new “activator bollard” that turns on the water when pressed. After a couple of minutes, if the button isn’t pressed, the water turns off.

In the past, Parks Department employees would come in the morning to turn on the spray shower and turn it off later that night.

Yocasta Polanco, parent coordinator of nearby PS 112, said students will have recess at the playground.

“The playground used to be bad, the walls used to be broken,” she said. “Some of the swings were falling apart.”

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