St. Mary’s Park to get major upgrades, mayor announces

The parks department selected parks that have received insufficient funding in the past and that are located in densely populated areas.

By Samali Bikangaga. Mayor de Blasio and Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito on a visit to St. Mary's Park on Aug. 19.
By Samali Bikangaga. Mayor de Blasio and Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito on a visit to St. Mary’s Park on Aug. 19.

South Bronx’s biggest park will get $30 million as part of city’s Anchor Park initiative

St Mary’s Park is one of five parks across the city slated to receive major funding for upgrades and added amenities like soccer fields, comfort stations, running tracks and hiking trails, Mayor de Blasio announced during an official visit to St. Mary’s on Aug. 18.

The new Anchor Park initiative calls for $30 million each for the five parks, one in each borough. The others are Highbridge Park in Manhattan, Betsy Head Park in Brooklyn, Astoria Park in Queens and Freshkills Park on Staten Island.

The parks department selected parks that have received insufficient funding in the past and that are located in densely populated areas. The city says it will start community outreach this fall so communities can weigh in on the upgrades they think are most crucial.

“New Yorkers deserve to have the greatest parks in the world steps from their homes,” de Blasio announced. The Anchor Parks program, he said, “marks another major step in advancing park equity for all New Yorkers.”

A quarter of a million residents live within walking distance of the five major parks, he added.

The city’s parks commissioner, Mitchell J. Silver explained that, “We call these sites Anchor Parks because they provide a stabilizing, centering force for the communities they serve by offering larger and more diverse resources than smaller community parks.”

City Councilman Mark Levine, who chairs the Council’s parks committee, said the five parks that were selected “are the centers of life for their surrounding neighborhoods and beyond.”

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