Funding for 3 Harlem Parks

New York City’s Parks Department’s Community Parks Initiative (CPI) is expanding, bringing its transformative green space upgrades to underserved neighborhoods across the city, including Harlem and East Harlem. A recent study by CUNY found that CPI renovations significantly increase park usage and benefit not just regular park-goers, but the entire surrounding community.

Among the 20 new sites selected for CPI funding in 2024 and 2025 are three Harlem and East Harlem playgrounds: Peter Minuit Playground (2024), Holcombe Rucker Park (2024), and East River Playground (2025). These playgrounds can expect significant upgrades in a bid to attract users and foster a healthier, more vibrant neighborhood environment.

A recent CUNY study revealed that residents living near CPI-renovated parks were 66% more likely to visit them compared to those near non-renovated parks. Spending time in these improved green spaces translates to potential health benefits like exposure to fresh air, increased physical activity, and improved mental well-being. Community engagement and park activation were found to be crucial factors in attracting visitors. The study found that (logically) parks with engaging programming and amenities see higher usage. This finding aligns with the ongoing Supporting Parks and Revitalizing Communities Study (SPARCS) launched in Fall 2022, which further investigates the connection between park activation and public health.

The revitalization of Peter Minuit Playground, Holcombe Rucker Park, and East River Playground will provide Harlem and East Harlem residents with safer and more enjoyable play spaces, in addition to contributing to a healthier and more connected community.

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