by Jeanmarie Evelly
Renovations to the Melrose Playground are finally complete, to the delight of local children and residents.
“Happy days are here again, because the playground is open and you get to play in it,” Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe told a crowd of well-wishers in the park on Cortlandt Avenue between East 153rd and 156th Streets at the July 7th ribbon-cutting.
A group of youngsters from the Phipps Summer Day Camp came out to try the new equipment, which includes a swing set, slides, see-saws, chess and checkers tables and a spray pool to cool off in.
Leondra Davila, who lives a block away on Melrose Avenue, also came to the opening with her five young children. They went to the park everyday before the renovations began and waited patiently for it to reopen. She insisted the wait was worth it.
“I love it, it’s a big difference from the one here before, much more kid-friendly,” she said. “I’m even enjoying it myself.”
Joining in the festivities were Deputy Bronx Borough President Aurelia Greene, Assembly Member Carmen Arroyo, Council Member Maria del Carmen Arroyo, Community Board 1 chair George Rodriguez and other community leaders in cutting the ribbon on the newly redone site.
Later in the week, Benepe joined former New York Knick star guard John Starks and others to celebrate improvements to Sedgwick Playground where a basketball clinic was being run by the Knicks. New handball courts, playground equipment and swings have been added at that playground on Undercliff Avenue in the Morris Heights section of the Bronx.