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Parks & Recreation Commissioner Adrian Benepe and LMDC President Kevin Rampe cut the ribbon on the $1.8 million reconstruction of Governor Al Smith Playground. The project, funded by LMDC, included new play equipment, a new basketball court, synthetic turf field, and new plantings and landscaping.
"The reconstruction of Governor Al Smith Playground is another step in the revitalization of Lower Manhattan's greenspaces," said Commissioner Benepe. "These improvements will bring enjoyment to community members and visitors to Lower Manhattan alike. Thanks to the support of LMDC, we've made improvements to six parks and construction is underway at seven more."
"In a city where recreational space is a treasure, the reconstruction of Governor Al Smith Playground will revitalize an important space for the area's children," said LMDC President Kevin M. Rampe. "Under Governor Pataki and Mayor Bloomberg's leadership the LMDC has invested over $30 million in more than 120 acres of parks and open spaces in Lower Manhattan from Chinatown to the Battery which will ensure downtown's transformation into a true mixed-use community vibrant day and night."
In addition to the new play equipment and recreation facilities, the playground's water area and safety surface was improved and the comfort station renovated. A roadway that had separated two portions of the park has been replaced with a garden pathway. The $1.8 million project was funded by the LMDC and is part of a $24.6 million allocation to create or enhance 13 different green spaces in Lower Manhattan.
The reconstruction of Governor Al Smith Playground is the sixth project to be completed as part of the LMDC allocation. Other recently completed projects include renovations at the East River Ballfields, Tribeca Park, Bowling Green Park and Washington Market Park.
Al Smith made history in 1918 when he was elected the first Irish Catholic Governor of New York. He made history again in 1928 when he was nominated as the Democratic presidential candidate. After losing to Herbert Hoover, Smith returned to New York City where he maintained an active lifestyle in civics. Governor Al Smith Playground was dedicated in June 1950.