June 14, 2016 By Christian Murray
The site of the former Phipps Playground, a privately-owned lot located on the corner of 39th Avenue and 50th Street, is likely to become a city park.
Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer has allocated $3 million for the purchase and renovation of the former playground, which is currently owned by DBH Associates, a development company.
DBH bought the site from Phipps Houses in July 2007 for $1.4 million. The former playground is located within the confines of the Sunnyside Gardens Historic District.
The old lot, where several generations of Sunnyside and Woodside children played, is one of the few depression-era playgrounds still in existence in the City. Its old shed, sandbox pavilion and swings and slides still remain intact.
“Many people have expressed a desire for it to become a park for a long time,” Van Bramer said. “It is important to get it before something is built on the site.”
The existing owner of the site put forward a proposal in 2013 to erect an aluminaire house –made of metal– and construct eight accompanying residential units.
The project, which was panned by the Community Board and this district’s elected officials, was shot down by the Landmarks Preservation Commission.
Van Bramer, who led the charge against the development at the time, said that DBH is agreeable to the deal.
“The property owner is willing to sell and we have secured enough money to buy it and renovate it.”