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Seward Park Athletic Grounds Reopens to the Public!
Score one for grassroots Lower East Side activists, as the Seward Park athletic grounds finally reopens to the public today. The outdoor sports facility – composed of tennis, basketball, and handball courts – had been closed to the neighborhood since March when the Department of Education decided to invoke the “budget cuts” argument.
The sudden move on the doorstep of summer had locals in a tizzy, driving Matthew Wong to spearhead a campaign via Facebook to help unlock the gates. People were listening. Neighbors added their two cents. Flyers were plastered within the immediate vicinity. Even Speaker Sheldon Silver spoke out against the closure. It worked – the park is now open from dawn to dusk, seven days a week. Once school starts again in the fall, the public will have access after-hours. GAME ON!
In a statement, Speaker Silver noted:
I am delighted that my neighbors on the Lower East Side and in Chinatown will now be able to enjoy this wonderful park. Recreational space is so precious to our neighborhood, particularly in the summer, and that is why I fought so hard for the public to once again have access to this field. I want to thank Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott for agreeing to reopen the field. I encourage children in our community to come out and enjoy it!