The fifth graders at P.S. 134 joined city officials this afternoon to officially reopen Sol Lain Playground after a $3.6 million renovation.
The redesigned public space includes separate play areas for different age groups, swings, a spray shower, a high school-sized basketball court, an area for flag football and an educational garden for the local school. Sol Lain and Henry M. Jackson Playground (reopened a few weeks ago) were refurbished through the city’s Community Parks Initiative.
Before a ribbon cutting ceremony, Parks Commissioner Mitchell Silver boasted that the playground was completed on time and on budget (construction began in August of 2016).
As City Council member Margaret Chin noted today, Sol Lain Playground holds special meaning for a lot of locals because it’s where coach Eddie Garcia ran a popular flag football program until his death in 2010. Eddie’s sister, Marilou, who has kept the league running, attended today’s opening. The field is named in Eddie Garcia’s memory.
Also on hand today was Catherine Bridges, a Lower East Side resident who happens to work for the Parks Department. She was the landscape designer for the Sol Lain project. She told us it’s the first time she’d been given the opportunity to design a park in her own neighborhood.
More improvements are ahead at Sol Lain Playground. The comfort station (bathrooms) are being refurbished at a cost of $1.9 million. Silver promised the new facility would be ready for use by next summer.