Worn basketball and tennis courts in 24 city parks will be refurbished or replaced with $4 million in improvements, Mayor Byron W. Brown announced Wednesday.
The work will be done in three phases, with the first phase nearly complete. Play court improvements are being made to Durant, J.H. Williams, JFK, Fr. Eckridge, Houughton, Lincoln and Woodlawn parks.
“Breathing new life into our city’s many wonderful recreation opportunities will add to the ongoing momentum in Buffalo,” Brown said in a statement, noting the expected addition of new jobholders to the city made it all the more imperative to spruce up the city’s recreational areas.
The second phase, also underway, includes improvements to Wende, Hennepin, Cazenovia and McCarthy parks. Phase three, currently in the design phase, calls for construction to begin next year at MLK, Collins, Trinidad, Dewey, Peter Street, Glenny, Sperry and Okell parks.
Deputy Parks Commissioner Andrew Rabb said $2.3 million has been spent on new or refurbished playground equipment since 2006. In addition, $600,000 was spent in recent years on picnic shelters in parks around the city, and a $253,000 skate plaza was built at LaSalle Park.
A spokeswoman said there will be an evaluation of all athletic fields and baseball diamonds at city parks after the play court improvements are completed.
Most of the funding, $3.5 million, came from Citywide Parks Improvement Bonds, with Community Development Block Grants providing the additional $500,000 for improvements to Masten and Schiller parks that’s about to begin.
The coming parks improvements brings the city’s investments in city parks since 2006 to $35 million, a spokeswoman said.
The city also works closely with the Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy. One of the Omsted parks – Cazenovia – is receiving funding.