THE BRONX - Children have a new place to play in Van Cortlandt Park with the opening of a new playground Thursday.

The playground was funded through a plan to construct the Croton water filtration plant. Officials and kids were on hand to cut the ribbon at Sachkerah Woods Playground near E. Gun Hill Road and Jerome Avenue. Lawmakers praised the golf-themed playground."To be able to have green space ? forget for a moment that we are in one of the biggest metropolises in the world ? that's money well spent," said state Sen. Jeff Klein.

The playground is the first of 70 to be completed under a deal approved by the City Council and state. The filtration plant at Van Cortlandt Park was approved with the understanding that $200 million would be invested back into parks.

Some residents argue the playground can't begin to compensate for the acres lost to the filtration plant.

"It's like [construction at the new Yankee Stadium]," said Margaret Groarke. "They are stealing parkland."