By Maya Mau
The Douglass Houses NYCHA development between 100th and 104th Streets got a new basketball court this week, paid for mostly by money seized through civil forfeiture from NYPD, DEA and Homeland Security investigations.
The NYPD and DEA aims to renovate 100 new basketball courts and soccer fields across New York City’s five boroughs through the program. The program is a combined effort with organizations like the First Responders Children’s Foundation as part of their “The Power of Play” initiative meant to help kids get some exercise amid the pandemic. NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea and District Attorney Cy Vance both spoke at the ribbon-cutting on Tuesday.
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Earlier in the pandemic, the First Responders Children’s Foundation worked to collect and distribute 500,000 toys to children in over 300 cities across the country with the help of hospitals, fire houses, and police associations as part of their “Toy Express” initiative. Jillian Crane, President of First Responders Children’s Foundation, found out about the project that the New York City law enforcement agencies – whom she had worked with on “Toy Express” – were working on and knew that the organizations could benefit by working together.
“The program to go into communities in New York City that need more safe access to parks was entirely the idea of the NYPD and DEA,” Crane said. “It’s important for there to be a partnership between law enforcement and the communities they serve.”
The program also has the support of charity partners such as the House of Mandela Family Foundation and New York City Police Foundation.
The housing projects whose facilities received upgrades were chosen by NYCHA. King Towers (112th & Malcolm X Blvd), another housing project in the neighborhood, is also scheduled to open this June.