Quarter acre DeSalvio Playground is located at the junction of Spring and Mulberry street in lower Manhattan, where the neighborhoods of NoLita, Little Italy and SoHo meet. With a variety of restaurants and shopping activates around, this corner park is a favorite place in the community.
Primarily designed as a kid’s playground with basketball facility, DeSalvio is a great pocket park enjoyed by people of all ages. However its current physical condition concerns the community. Kristi Avram, founder of Friends of DeSalvio Playground, feels that the playground is neglected, littered and fairly dirty.
With a strong inclination to restore this space, the group approached Partnerships for Parks to discuss a possible People Make Parks (PMP) project. The project was quickly implemented with additional support from Bowery Babes and Citizens Council of NYC. In summer 2012, a PMP project called ‘ReNew DeSalvio Playground’ was completed successfully.
Visioning event was held on June 9, 2012, aimed to get community input for playground’s design. PMP tools used for this event included – What’s your story (Story map), Dream Park (Model Making) and Wishing Tree (Wish Objects). The group also created an online questionnaire for additional inputs from the community.
A Partnerships grant helped the group get going and fund promotional material. Around 300 people attended the event. Parents and park regulars with young children, youth using basketball courts, seniors playing board games, and other local residents took part in leaving comments. Free food and drinks along with music for kids made the day even more entertaining for all.
The visioning day brought together residents and businesses in the community and provided a fun neighborhood event. PMP day turned out to be a good opportunity for Friends of DeSalvio Playground to reach out to many local people and organizations. The group received donations and raised $1400 in checks on the visioning day.
In August 2013, DeSalvio Playground received $1.9 million from the NYC Capital Budget towards a complete renovation of the neighborhood park. The group is currently working with Parks designers to create a plan for the new playground.