2007-04-06 / Front Page

Sneak Peek At New Hammel Playground

Plans released by the Department of Parks and Recreation show the new layout for the Hammel Playground, which is under reconstruction.
Plans released by the Department of Parks and Recreation show the new layout for the Hammel Playground, which is under reconstruction.

The Department of Parks and Recreation gave The Wave a sneak peek at its renovation plans for the Hammel Playground this week. The project, which will cost more than $850,000, includes resurfacing, new play units, swings, a spray shower, a new comfort station and more.

The playground near the Hammel Houses city housing complex will get two adventure play units - the kind that usually feature colorful towers, ladders, bridges and slides, Parks says. The playground will also get two 8-foot swing sets, one with bucket seats, the other with strap seats.

A new spray shower - perfect for hot summer days and rinsing off after the beach - will also be installed.

The playground project, which will receive nearly $265,000 in funds from Mayor Michael Bloomberg, hit an unusual hitch when City Councilman James Sanders Jr. allocated an additional $600,000, so that the comfort station could also be redone.

"It was necessary to discuss how to move forward with the playground renovations so that the new pavement and utility lines would not be disturbed when renovations to the comfort stations began," Abigail Lootens, a spokesperson for Parks, told The Wave this week.

Lootens added that Parks reps met with utility providers on March 26 and "determined that sleeves can be installed for utility service to the comfort station - which will allow [Parks] to move forward with the playground renovation and prevent from having to repave."

The playground contractor, who was recently called to an emergency job in Brooklyn, should be working on the Hammel Playground in about three weeks, Lootens said. It should then take about four months to finish that part of the job, after which the playground will reopen.

The work on the comfort station won't begin until sometime after September and will take six to eight months, according to Lootens. It was unclear when the comfort station would be complete, but Lootens said that was "currently one of the top priorities" in the city parks system.

"Parks is dedicated to improving Hammel Playground and is diligently working to move forward with the renovations to the playground and comfort station so that the new and improved park can be returned to the community as quickly as possible," Lootens added.

The 1.3-acre Hammel Playground is located on Beach 83 Street and Rockaway Beach Boulevard within the Hammel Houses complex, which has about 2,000 residents throughout 14 buildings. The playground received its last renovation in 1998, when Mayor Rudolph Giuliani allocated more than $73,000 in funds for new play equipment and other renovations.

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