With cars whizzing by and barely a buffer separating them from the Cooper Park playground, residents had a common sense request for the NYC Parks Department: build a fence. Although the park is undergoing a complete overhaul, with $2.45 million in phase one capital funding secured by Councilmember Diana Reyna, the community was rebuffed by Parks, who said lifespan issues prohibited using capital funds to build the $22,000 fence. So neighbors took matters into their own hands.
On Thursday, September 13th, community-based organization St. Nicks Alliance hosted an “Ice Cream Social” fundraiser, at the Greenpoint Renaissance Center, for improvements to the Cooper Park playground, starting with the new fence. To help ensure their success, the Open Space Alliance for North Brooklyn agreed to match, dollar for dollar, the money raised by the Cooper Park neighbors and to install the much-needed barrier.
“Our community was ready to do something positive around a shared goal, rather than coming together only when there are complaints,” said event co-organizer Lydia Cavallo Zasa, alluding to discord between longtime Cooper residents and more recent arrivals over how to renovate the park. “The turnout shows that everyone wants to see something good happen.” Indeed, a diverse representation of the community was present, enjoying the food and drink options, especially the ice cream, during the very warm day.
The main beneficiaries of the day, the kids, were also the guests of honor, participating in face painting, games and a bouncy house while being entertained by The Dirty Sock Funtime Band. Several neighborhood businesses contributed raffle prizes to help the effort, which netted $7,500, and was co-sponsored by Town Square and Carrig Montessori School, which is located alongside the park.
According to St. Nicks’ Frank Lang, with help from the Open Space Alliance and Parks Department, the fence should be up by next fall.
Type your name and email address below, then click "Submit" to be added to our spam-free email list.