FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Saturday, June 22, 2013
Newly Renovated Torsney/lou Lodati Playground Reopens
Queens Parks Commissioner Dorothy Lewandowski today joined Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer, Chief of Staff to the Queens Borough President Alexandra Rosa, members of Community Board 2 and the Sunnyside United Dog Society (SUDS) to celebrate the completion of $1.4 million in improvements to Torsney/Lou Lodati Playground.
The renovation created a formalized dog run, improved the existing asphalt sports courts, and added new plantings throughout the site. The new dog run is bordered by planting beds and consists of dedicated areas for large and small dogs. Each contains benches and dog drinking fountains. The dog run was designed in consultation with the Sunnyside United Dog Society. In addition to the dog run, the existing softball, basketball, and volleyball/ecuavolley courts were resurfaced with new color-sealed pavement to improve both their appearance and their durability. The project was funded with $700,000 allocated by Queens Borough President Marshall and $700,000 allocated by Council Member Van Bramer
“Torsney/Lou Lodati Playground is now a great community amenity for Sunnyside residents, whether human or canine,” said Parks Commissioner Veronica M. White. “Thanks to this renovation they will have even more opportunities to have fun and keep fit, with resurfaced sports courts and new dog runs. I’d like to thank Borough President Marshall and Council Member Van Bramer for allocating a combined $1.4 million to make this project possible.”
“The Torsney/Lodati playground is now open and ready for the community to enjoy,” said Borough President Marshall. “New benches, landscaping, pavements, refurbished courts, dog runs and other improvements make it a valuable resource in this neighborhood and a lasting memorial to two outstanding individuals who loved their community and country. I had the privilege of providing $700,000 in funding to help make this happen.
“Great neighborhoods deserve great parks,” said Council Member Van Bramer. “The renovations of Lou Lodati Park have transformed what was once only an asphalt field into a sprawling multifaceted facility which will be used by our local families, their children, seniors, dog owners, and their four-legged friends. I am proud to have partnered with the Queens Borough President in enhancing our local playground which will provide future generations of Sunnyside residents with a park they can be proud of for decades to come.”
This park’s name honors George F. Torsney (1896-1942), World War I veteran, New York State Assembly Member, and supporter of parks and playgrounds in the Sunnyside area. Torsney was elected to the New York State Assembly in 1932, a position he retained until his death. As an assemblyman, Torsney fought for reapportionment of the state’s districts when Queens’s swift expansion in the 1930s left the borough inadequately represented. He also served on the New York World’s Fair Commission in 1939 and as the chairman of the Long Island City Civilian Defense Volunteers Office during World War II.
This site includes the Lou Lodati Playground, named in 1999 for Lou Lodati (1908-1996), who was known as the “Mayor of Sunnyside” for his dedicated service to the community. He worked for the Woodside Herald, and was a member of the Kiwanis and the Sunnyside Chamber of Commerce. He also operated Cassel’s Lounge, where the homeless could receive meals. Lou Lodati Playground was last renovated in 2009, and contains play equipment, swings, a comfort station, and a sitting area.