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Daily Plant Masthead

Volume XXVIII, Number 5953
Monday, Sep 30, 2013

Jackson Heights’ Garden School Field Renamed In Memory Of Rory Staunton

Photo by Malcolm Pinckney

On September 23, NYC Parks Commissioner Veronica M. White joined Congressman Joseph Crowley, Queens Borough President Helen Marshall, City Council Member Daniel Dromm, State Assembly Member Michael DenDekker, members of Community Board 3, the Jackson Heights Green Alliance and Jackson Heights Beautification Group, and Rory Staunton’s family and friends to officially rename this park in his memory.

Rory Staunton (1999-2012) was a student at the Garden School, known for his civic responsibility, inspiring leadership and kind heart. The Staunton family was one of the leading voices in support of the effort to turn the Garden School’s athletic field into public parkland, increasing the amount of recreational space in Jackson Heights by more than half an acre.

Even at his young age, Rory had a deep interest in improving his community – devising and presenting a plan to eradicate the flooding problems at Sunnyside Gardens by transferring rain water to parts of the park that had no source of irrigation. He was also known for bringing the Special Olympics’ "Spread the Word to End the Word" anti-bullying campaign to his school and neighborhood, for which he was honored by the Special Olympics’ New York Chapter. In April of 2012, Staunton died of septic shock, only days after scraping his arm while playing basketball.

Staunton’s death helped to inspire the New York State Department of Health to implement protocols in all New York hospitals to better identify and treat sepsis, and the creation of the Rory Staunton Foundation to educate the public about this infection, which is usually treatable if quickly diagnosed.

After a preliminary agreement was reached in 2012, this field was officially acquired by the City in the beginning of this year. Under an agreement with the Garden School, which formerly owned this property, the school will continue to use the field during school hours for five years. The acquisition was funded with $4 million from Council Member Dromm, $1 million from Borough President Marshall, and $1 million from the Mayor's Fund to Advance New York City.

Rory Staunton Field will be included in a future renovation, alongside the adjacent Travers Park, with scopes of work to be determined by community listening sessions. The improvements to Travers Park will be funded with $2 million allocated by Council Member Dromm and $600,000 allocated by Queens Borough President Helen Marshall, with improvements to Rory Staunton Field funded by an additional $1.1 million allocated by Council Member Dromm.


“The safest way to double your money is to fold it over and put it in your pocket.”

Kin Hubbard
(1868 - 1930)

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