Saratoga Park-goers can say goodbye to creaky swingsets, patchy grass and a wheelchair prohibitive playground: the New York City Parks Department has officially begun a $2.1 million renovation.
The park, which sits between Howard and Saratoga Avenues in Bed-Stuy, will receive major playground updates, lawn restoration, street-lamp additions, new fencing and accessibility improvements as part of the City Council funded revamp.
The renovations are part of the Parks Department’s initiative to create parks that serve vital public resources, meet the needs of the surrounding community and are able to withstand and recover from disruptive events such as coastal storms and catastrophic flooding. The makeover is expected to be completed by February 2023, according to the Parks Department.
The new playground equipment will feature three designated areas for different age groups with a range of age-appropriate play equipment, including slides, climbing elements, bridges and structures designed to spark creative play.
Toddlers will have their own area, as well as the two-to-five-year-olds and five-to-12-year-olds.
The playground will also get accessibility upgrades including wheelchair-friendly ramps on the two-to-five-year-old section, and accessible swings on the swingset so that all children can benefit, according to the Parks Department.
On the existing curbs around the swingset and the playground, the Parks Department will install new, 3-inch steel panel fencing with gates at three different entrances to ensure the safety of children and their guardians at play.
The pathways that criss-cross the park will get remade with a fresh coat of asphalt embedded with thermoplastic games for imaginative play.
A new street lamp will also be installed, to provide visibility at all times.
The lawns will also get some much-needed love, including fresh grass, ground re-leveling and landscaping. But, fear not — none of the beautiful, old trees will come down in the process. The existing benches, tables and spray showers will also remain in place.
Saratoga Park is the second-largest park in Bed Stuy and it was named after the Revolutionary War Battles of Saratoga, New York. The bronze memorial at the park, which was rehabilitated in 2014, will not be affected by the renovations.
The word Saratoga is adapted from the Mohawk language in origin, perhaps meaning “springs from hillside,” according to the Parks Department.
The upgrades were designed in February 2019, and the Parks Department had expected to begin the renovation in December of 2020, but the pandemic halted the plan.
While the playground and its surrounding lawns aren’t yet closed, there will likely be some closures throughout the year.
When the playground closes, the Parks Department recommends going to a nearby playground instead, like the nearby Marion Hopkinson playground and P.O. Reinaldo Salgado playground.
For updates on the progress of the park renovation, check out the NYC Parks’ capital project tracker.