March 28, 2018 - The Niagara Falls Community Development Department received a $120,000 grant from the New York State Health Foundation (NYSHealth) for the construction of the Hyde Park Inclusionary Play Project and summer youth programs at both Hyde Park and Liberty Parks. “This grant will give our young people inclusive places to enjoy free play, physical activity and state of the art parks to call their own. NYSHealth’s assistance is going to improve neighborhood quality of life in an impactful way,” said Seth Piccirillo, Director of Community Development and Code Enforcement.
NYSHealth is a private, statewide foundation dedicated to improving the health of all New Yorkers, especially the most vulnerable. It is committed to making grants, informing health care policy and practice, spreading effective programs that work to improve the health system, serving as a convener of health leaders across the State, and providing technical assistance to its grantees and partners. Through its Building Healthy Communities priority area, NYSHealth seeks to improve neighborhood health in six communities across New York State by expanding access to and demand for nutritious foods and expanding access to safe places where residents can be more physically active. “We are proud to support the Niagara Falls Community Development in making physical activity and play accessible for Niagara Falls residents,” said David Sandman, Ph.D., President and CEO of NYSHealth.
The $120,000 NYSHealth grant will be dedicated to installation of the Hyde Park Inclusionary Play Playground ($50,000) and the creation of new youth programs ($70,000) at both Hyde Park and Liberty Parks over the next two years. In partnership with the Niagara Falls City School District, EMPOWER and neighborhood ambassadors, a series of summer events will include family events, a physical education curriculum and Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts and Mathematics (STEAM) Workshops. “The School District is proud to partner with NYSHealth, the City of Niagara Falls, and other local agencies to expand our classrooms into our parks and playgrounds. The addition to the playgrounds, and well-thought programming will ensure learning opportunities, in a fun and enriching manner for students and their families of all abilities,” said Mark Laurrie, Superintendent of the Niagara Falls City School District.
Both the Hyde Park Inclusionary Play Project and improvements at Liberty Park were directly voted on by the community during Niagara Falls Community Development Participatory Budgeting Process (PB360) Process, which put neighborhood investment decision making directly in the hands of the public. These two parks will act as educational satellites for events and activities, open to all city residents. The NYSHealth grant provides additional funding sources to continue a city-wide strategy of park investment and youth-centric activities.