NYC Parks Commissioner Mitchell J. Silver, FAICP, joined Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez, State Senator Robert Jackson, Community Board 12 Chair Eleazar Bueno, Parks Committee Chair Elizabeth Lorris Ritter, District Manager Ebenezer Smith, Washington Heights BID Executive Director Isidro Medina, Uptown Soccer Academy co-founder David Sykes, and ESPN soccer announcer Roberto Abramowitz this week to celebrate the completion of a brand new soccer field at Highbridge Park.
The project transformed an undeveloped area into a new synthetic turf soccer field, using 5,400 cubic yards of clean fill to level the site. The space also features a new paved pathway, seating, lighting, a drinking fountain, a misting post, and tree plantings. This project was completed as part of a two-phase investment in the park through the Anchor Parks initiative, which is still in construction.
Launched by Mayor de Blasio in August 2016, the Anchor Parks Initiative committed a total of $150 million in City funding for major improvements at five large parks: Astoria Park in Queens, Highbridge Park in Manhattan, Betsy Head Park in Brooklyn, St. Mary’s Park in the Bronx, and Freshkills Park on Staten Island. More than 750,000 New Yorkers live within walking distance of the five Anchor Parks. Each site was selected based on historical underinvestment, high surrounding population and potential for park development.
“This soccer field is a big win for the community!” said Commissioner Silver. “With the new recreational space and upgrades coming to nearby playgrounds and pathways, we are transforming the overall experience at Highbridge Park. Thanks to funding from the Mayor, Council Member Rodriguez, and the State, this historic park will serve as a dynamic neighborhood anchor for generations to come.”
In addition to the Mayor’s $30 million funding for Highbridge Park, Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez contributed $600,000 and Parks received a Department of State grant for $500,000 as well.
“Happy for today’s ribbon-cutting ceremony, which will bring much-needed resources to the uptown community. Sports play an integral role in the well being of our community and it’s residents. This new recreational space will allow organizations like the uptown soccer league to finally be able to run their soccer programs. It also provides the youth with the opportunity to participate in after-school sports initiatives that help keep them healthy and safe,” said Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez. “I sincerely thank Mayor de Blasio and Parks Commissioner Mitchell J. Silver, for all the work they are doing to revitalize parks located in historically underserved communities. I look forward to continuing to work alongside the administration to bring these valuable resources into our community.”
“Highbridge Park is Washington Heights’ best-kept secret and we are very proud to be part of the initiative to open this new soccer field,” said Community Board 12 Chair Eleazar Bueno. “Our youth need more open spaces where they can utilize the beauty of our parks for activities that help the body and free the mind.”
The Highbridge Park project is being executed in two phases, outlined below:
- Phase I: This project will reinstate access to a 10-block stretch of the park, improve connectivity and pathways, and restore the historic Grand Staircase at Laurel Hill Terrace. The project will also improve safety and security with new park lighting, and improve ADA access.
- Phase II: This project will reconstruct Adventure Playground, creating a play-based active recreation playground featuring a spray shower, game tables, garden area and new comfort station. The project will also include adult fitness equipment at Sunken Playground.
Highbridge Park is named after the High Bridge, the city’s oldest standing bridge, which was once part of the first reliable and uninterrupted water supply system in New York City. The bridge and surrounding land came under Parks jurisdiction in 1960. The 130-acre park features important landmarks as well as open vistas, unique geology, and recreational offerings.
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