City celebrates renovations to Betsey Head Park
Apr 06, 2021 | 204 views | 0 0 comments | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend | print
(Photo: Michael Appleton/Mayor’s Office)
(Photo: Michael Appleton/Mayor’s Office)
City representatives and community members joined last week to cut the ribbon on phase two of the $30 million reconstruction of Betsy Head Park in Brownsville, one of five projects funded through the Anchor Parks initiative.

This second phase of the project at Betsy Head Park totals $23 million in upgrades.

"Improving parks in historically underserved neighborhoods is key to a recovery for all of us," said Mayor Bill de Blasio. "The new facilities and upgrades at Betsy Head Park, a critical community and green space for over 100 years, will serve Brownsville families for generations to come."

Launched by the city in August 2016, the Anchor Parks initiative committed a total of $150 million in 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 park was selected based on historical underinvestment, high surrounding population and potential for park development.

Phase I of the project at Betsey Head Park re-envisioned and reconstructed the multi-purpose play area, basketball courts, active fitness area, and new skate park. The $7 million project was completed in June 2020.

Phase II reconstructed the southern portion of the park, including a large synthetic turf field, rubberized track, sports courts, seating areas, and added an adult fitness equipment area.

Phase II also includes the reconstruction of a comfort station and park utility building, which is anticipated to be complete in Spring 2022. This phase totals $23 million in upgrades.

Betsy Head Park has been a presence in the neighborhood for almost 100 years. Built on land bequeathed to the city specifically for purposes of public health and recreation, it continues to serve the community as a nexus of activity today.

The park has seen numerous improvements through the years, most notably the construction of the Play Center (pool and bathhouse), a monumental WPA-era building that set the bar for recreation facilities across the country.

"While the pandemic of the past year put our world on hold and forced us away from the things we hold dear, we have discovered a new appreciation for all that we once took for granted,” said Congresswoman Yvette Clarke. “May Betsy Head Park serve the communities of the next 100 years half as well as it has served us."
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