Staten Island park renamed in honor of late pastor

STAPLETON, Staten Island (WABC) -- New York City honored a late pastor for her dedication to her Staten Island community.

The former Stapleton Playground was renamed Rev. Dr. Maggie Howard Playground.

Local lawmakers were on site Wednesday morning to cut the ribbon on recently finished renovations.

"Reverand Howard was the Mother Teresa of Stapleton," New York City Councilwoman Debi Rose said. "The naming of this playground to Rev. Dr. Maggie Howard Playground is a perfect symbiotic match and will ensure that her legacy will live forever."

For 12 years Rev. Howard was the senior pastor of Stapleton U.A.M.E. Church, the oldest African-American church in the borough.

It's also right across the street from the playground.

"We walked through this park probably 1,000 times going to this church with my mother before she became pastor," Howard's son, Clayton, said.

Howard oversaw the church's soup kitchen, after school and clothing programs, Christmas parties, and Thanksgiving turkey drives.

She was known for lending a hand to families who needed emergency housing and people struggling with addiction.

Clayton said he admired and deeply misses his mother.

"If she was able to impact so many lives with us sharing her with the community than it was worth sharing her with the community," Clayton said.
(BITE)
Lamont, says (44:43) says "...Her words would speak volumes..."

Rev. Lamont Allen, who grew up here in the Stapleton Houses with the Howard family and now leads Rev. Howard's congregation, was captivated by each verse.

"Her words would speak volumes," Allen said. "It is overwhelming to be able to come behind such a great woman that I can't walk in her shoes, fill her shoes, but I can build upon her legacy."

Howard died back in June at the age of 56.

The playground is one of 10 spaces in the city newly renamed after African-Americans.

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