Best of 2001: Best City Park

City Heights Urban Village
3795 Fairmount Avenue, City Heights

It began seven years ago with a vague plan to build a police station on 43rd Street. But Price Club founder Sol Price is an impatient billionaire. He wanted more than a police station for City Heights. Price ponied up $15 million of his own money to challenge the city, and he teamed up with former councilman William Jones, who dreamed of curing the neighborhood's woes. Price and Jones took only a few years to realize City Heights Urban Village, an eight-acre park complete with community gym, library, outdoor theater, Olympic-size pool, small-sized water park, tennis courts, soccer fields, picnic tables, and a 9000-square-foot recreation center. Buff, blond lifeguards teach little black girls how to swim. Vietnamese boys play soccer with Mexican kids. In the library, a Somali girl in traditional dress does her Spanish homework. In the sandbox, toddlers scramble and scrape, babbling in 30 different linguistic variations of baby talk.

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