Mayor de Blasio outlines plans for $150 million New York City parks improvements

NEW YORK (WABC) -- New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced his plans Thursday for one of the largest investments to the city's parks since he took office.

For the first time in many years, St. Mary's Park is set to become an even better park.

"The people who need it the most got the least," Mayor Bill de Blasio said.

The mayor is targeting five anchor parks: St. Mary's in the Bronx, Highbridge Park in Manhattan, Betsy Head Park in Brooklyn, Astoria Park in Queens, and Freshkills Park on Staten Island for major improvements.

"We call them anchor parks because the play such a big role in their communities," Mayor de Blasio said.

$150-million dollars, $30-million to each park, will go for major upgrades.
750,000 people live in walking distance to the five parks.

Upgrades also include soccer fields, comfort stations and hiking trails.

But it doesn't stop there. The community members will also have a great deal of input into the improvements that are made to each of these parks.

"In particular, we could use some better playground equipment. We could use some more exercise equipment. There is a small track so it would nice to have a bigger track," said Julie Kelderman, a parent.

Shakima Williams, whose son Michael McClain, Jr. just moved to the neighborhood next to St. Mary's, is quite happy to hear of the improvements.

"Especially for the kids' safety that they need to improve the parks and put money into the parks, make an improvement. I think there should be more in here," Williams said.

"Do you like to ride your scooter?" Eyewitness News asked.

"Yes!" Michael said.

"Do you like to play on the swings?" Eyewitness News asked.

"Yes!" Michael said.

Community meetings will begin in the fall, with the work on a multiyear time frame.

"These five parks are finally getting the big support they need. And we will work with the community those plans and visions to make it a reality," said Mitchell Silver, NYC Parks Commissioner.
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