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Central Park Conservancy restoration of the Safari Playground

WHEREAS, Central Park was established in 1857 on 778 acres of land acquired by the city and open to the public in 1858; and

WHEREAS, Central Park was designated a scenic landmark in 1974, and

WHEREAS, In 2011, the Central Park Conservancy developed the long term Plan for Play, a framework for a program of work to rebuild playgrounds and sustain them into the future; and

WHEREAS, The Central Park Conservancy is proposing to rebuild the Safari / West 90th Street Playground; and

WHEREAS, The Safari / West 90th Street Playground is located between Central Park West and the West Drive at a high point, with sweeping views of the Reservoir; and

WHEREAS, The playground was originally built in 1936, as part of the system of playgrounds constructed under Parks Commissioner Robert Moses in the marginal landscapes just inside the Park perimeter; and

WHEREAS, The original playground featured equipment and activities typical of the era—including swings, slides, kinder (sand) tables, and a water spray feature; and

WHEREAS, The edge of the oval footprint was delineated by wood and concrete benches with segments of iron pipe rail in between while the existing seven-foot tall steel picket fence was installed in the early 1940s; and

WHEREAS, The purpose of the project is to meet the design objectives outlined in the Plan for Play by addressing the relationship between the playground and the Park, the accessibility of the playground, and opportunities to add play value, while building on the success of the current Safari theme; and

WHEREAS, To achieve this goal the Conservancy is proposing the following alterations:

WHEREAS, The proposed reconstruction will necessitate the removal of four pine trees, two of which will be repainted elsewhere in Central Park; and

WHEREAS, While CB5 regrets the loss of two pine trees, we understand that this loss will be more than made up for by the planting of 15 new trees and new landscaping; and

WHEREAS, Community Board Five commends the Conservancy’s efforts to bring the park to ADA compliance; therefore be it

RESOLVED, Community Board Five recommends approval of the restoration of the Safari playground.

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