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Parks & Public Spaces

Application from Central Park Conservancy for the Rehabilitation of the East 72nd Street Playground

At the regularly scheduled monthly meeting of Community Board Five on Thursday, May 08, 2014, the following resolution passed with a vote of 35 in favor; 0 opposed; 1 abstaining:

WHEREAS, The Central Park Conservancy ("Applicant") has submitted an application for the rehabilitation of the East 72nd Street Playground, located near 72nd Street and 5th Avenue; and

WHEREAS, The projects are part of the Applicant's plan to raise each of Central Park's playgrounds to a standard of excellence as outlined in their master plan, Plan for Play: A Framework for Rebuilding and Managing Central Park's Playgrounds, which was supported unanimously by Community Board Five; and

WHEREAS, The playground was originally built on this site in 1936 under the tenure of Robert Moses, but the current design dates to 1970 by Richard Dattner, who designed several other playgrounds in Central Park, with one significant rehabilitation project taking place in the 1990s, before specific standards for playground accessibility had been established under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA); and

WHEREAS, The playground equipment is aging, many features are worn and outdated, the playground is used heavily, and the area surrounding the playground has undergone considerable change due to the loss of a significant number of trees since 2009; and

WHEREAS, The goals of the projects are to honor the spirit of the existing design while (1) improving the playground's connection to the Park landscape, (2) addressing the ADA-accessibility of the playground, (3) upgrading infrastructure to increase the play value of the water feature, and (4) increasing the play value of underused spaces; and

WHEREAS, The design proposal aims to improve the relationship of the playground to the surrounding parkland, use the space left by lost trees to modify the footprint of the playground, remove fences and replace them with a low seat wall, add benches with back support, modify the water feature to increase its play value and accessibility, replace sand in most areas with sand-toned safety-surface carpet, an accessible surface, with sand remaining underneath the tire swings, add a double-slide to the embankment at the southern edge, and remove the treehouse in the southern portion which no longer has a tree attached to it, greatly reducing its value; therefore, be it

RESOLVED, Community Board Five recommends approval of the application from Central Park Conservancy for the Rehabilitation of the East 72nd Street Playground.

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