Oval Park 80th Anniversary - Photo #64


Sheila Sánchez with the State Assembly proclamation which says:
Whereas, It is the sense of this Legislator that the quality of life of the citizens of the State of New York is greatly enriched by the availability of exceptional recreational facilities; and

Whereas, Attendant to such concern, and in full accord with long-standing tradition, this Legislator is justly proud to commemorate the 80th Anniversary of Williamsbridge Oval Park to be celebrated as a birthday party on Saturday, September 9, 2017; and

Whereas, Williamsbridge Oval Park, also known as The Oval, has been the heart of the Norwood neighborhood of the Bronx for eight decades; it was built between 1934-1937 on the site of an abandoned reservoir by the Works Progress Administration (WPA) of President Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal; and

Whereas, On May 1, 1887, the City of New York aquired the property northest of Bainbridge Avenue and East 207th Street, and two years later opened the Williamsbridge Reservoir, measuring 925 feet long by 525 feet wide, and with a 46 foot high embankment, the oval receiving reservoir had a capacity of 120 million gallons of water; it was linked to the upstate reservoir at Kensico by a 48-inch diameter cast-iron pipeline extending 15.1 miles; and

Whereas, By 1934, the reservoir was no longer needed for water supply purposes, and the land was transferred to the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation Center to develop an athletic complex; after some resistence by the Williamsbridge Civic Association, the reservoir floor was raised to 12 feel below street level; and

Whereas, Williamsbridge Oval officially opened to the public for the first time on Saturday, September 11, 1937, with a ceremony featuring Commissioner Robert Moses, Bronx Borough President James Lyons, and WPA Administrator Howard Peckham addressing a crowd of 2,000 enthusiastic New Yorkers; and

Whereas, At this time, the Oval contained a running track, both football and baseball fields, a basketball court, 16 hard-surface tennis courts, a horseshoe pit, a large wading pool, a cinder running track, a field house, and two children's playgrounds; and

Whereas, The playground was renovated through a substantial capital projected frunded by Council Member June M. Eisland, which was completed in December of 1996; the renovation included three distinct state-of-the-art modular play structures as well as new safety surfacing; and

Whereas, In 2015, this beloved park was added to the National Register of Historic Places, and

Whereas, Throughout the seasons, Williamsbridge Oval Park is a destination much appreciated by the residents of Norwood and visitors who seek the historical, cultural, and recreational resources of the new area; now, therefore, be it

Proclaimed, That this Legislator pause in his deliberations to commorate the 80th Anniversary of Williamsbridge Oval Park on September 9, 2017; and be it further

Proclaimed, That a copy of this Proclamation, suitably endorsed, be transmitted to Sheila Sanchez, Friends of the Oval; Sarah Bishow, New York City Department of Parks and Recreation Center, and Jennifer Tausig, Mosholu Preservation Corporation.

Dated: September 9, 2017
In Witness Whereof, I have Hereto Set My Hand and Signature

Jeffrey Dinowitz
New York State Assembly
18st Assembly District