STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — Various officials attended the ribbon-cutting of the brand new E.M.T. Christopher J. Prescott Sensory Playground — designed to provide fun for all children, including those with autism spectrum disorder and sensory processing disorder — in Huguenot Thursday morning.
The park, located next to Bernstein Intermediate School (I.S. 7), is named after Staten Islander Christopher J. Prescott, an emergency medical technician who, on June 17, 1994, tragically became the first New York City EMT to be killed in the line of duty.
Borough President James Oddo, Borough Parks Commissioner Lynda Ricciardone, Councilman Joseph Borelli (R-South Shore) and others attended the event officially opening the new playground.
“Staten Islanders should embrace the fact that the cost of admission to this park is knowing the story of Christopher Prescott,” said Oddo. “This playground is the first of its kind on Staten Island; it’s an amazing place. [Prescott] was someone who embraced the fact that life was about more than yourself, and the more we can instill that value into kids and tell kids about real life heroes, the better we all will be.”
“This playground is the first of its kind on Staten Island; it’s an amazing place,” said the borough president.
Prescott’s sister Doreen Prescott-Sluder, who attended the ribbon-cutting, spoke about her brother’s legacy.
“My brother’s name will forever live in this playground where he went to school and played, and where my children play today,” she said. “We are truly in awe of this beautiful, inclusive playground; we hope that the neighbors and the children that live here will enjoy it and carry a little bit of Christopher’s memory with them when they come here to play.”
The American Disability Association (ADA)-accessible playground is designed to challenge the body’s senses. Features include: textured pavement; bursts of color; quiet areas; percussion drums; swings; sprinklers, and more.
“This is a wonderful playground, and our first true sensory one on Staten Island. We have something for everyone on the spectrum here. So if someone needs quiet time, they need to go on the deck area and do so. At the end of the day, we want them to come here and we want the memory of Christopher Prescott to live on, and we want them to form bonds and friendships that we all need in life,” said Borough Parks Commissioner Lynda Ricciardone.
A total of $4 million in funding for the playground was included in the city’s fiscal year 2018 budget – which included $3.9 million from the borough president’s office and $100,000 from Borelli’s office.
For more information about the playground and its history, click here.