Elected and city officials cut the ribbon on a newly renovated Mary Whelan playground that will both honor the legacy of the longtime Woodhaven civic leader and provide families with a great neighborhood playground.
“You may sleep in your homes and in your apartments, but we live in our public spaces and our playgrounds,” said Parks Commissioner Mitchell Silver. “These are the social spaces, our outdoor living rooms where kids can get heathy, enjoy themselves, and create friends and really great memories for generations to come.”
The $1.1 million project includes new playground equipment in a reconfigured layout, new trees to provide shade and a new fence and retaining wall.
“From the moment I became the council member, this community was advocating for the restoration of Mary Whelan playground,” said Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley, who allocated $1 million for the project.
Crowley also highlighted some of the accomplishments of the playground's namesake.
“From her work on the Woodhaven Block Association or running the Businesses Improvement District, and being on the community board and raising her family here in Woodhaven, I don't know where she found all the time to do the things she did,” she said.
Whelan, who passed away in 1987 and lived just one block from the playground, was also active in the Woodhaven Women's Democratic Club, Woodhaven Senior Center and Supreme Council of the Columbiettes.
“We moved here when I was about 10 years old and immediately my parents fell in love with Woodhaven,” said Whelan's daughter Maryann Keller recalled. “She worked tirelessly to make sure that Woodhaven stayed safe and stayed beautiful and was just the perfect place to live and the perfect place to raise your family.”