The Park Is Back In Midland "Park"way Malls
Thursday, June 7, 2007
Queens Borough Commissioner Dorothy Lewandowski today joined Council Member James Gennaro, President of the Jamaica Estates Association Michael Bookbinder and community members to cut the ribbon on the $787,000 restoration and greening of Midland Malls and to break ground on the restoration of the historic gatehouse at Hillside Avenue. Council Member James Gennaro allocated $550,000, with an additional $237,000 from Mayor Bloomberg to restore the seven malls along Midland Parkway from Hillside Avenue to Surrey Place.
"Two years ago, the Midland Malls consisted mostly of oak trees and were in need of some sprucing up," said Commissioner Adrian Benepe. "Today they have been filled with a diverse palette of evergreen and deciduous trees and shrubs and restored to their former glory of a century ago when they were created to provide refuge from urban life and increase property value."
The seven malls have been planted with a range of trees, shrubs and flowers, including dogwoods, yews, hydrangea and euonymus, that greatly enhance the street. At Surrey Place—the north end of the parkway—there are four small islands that are now reconstructed. One of the islands is encircled with granite block and planted with liriope (the lily family). At Hillside Avenue, where the historic gatehouse is located, substantial plantings have been installed along with a new path that improves access to the gatehouse and World War II memorial.
"I am very happy to have funded this incredible beautification. The neighborhood of Jamaica Estates is a wonderful neighborhood that is strong, active and committed to making this city a better place to live," said Councilman James F. Gennaro (D - Fresh Meadows) "I am also proud to do my part by funding the restoration of the gatehouse. I commend Commissioner Benepe, Queens Borough Commissioner Dorothy Lewandowski, and her entire staff for meeting with us numerous times to ensure this project’s success."
The gatehouse, which is built from river stones, marks the entrance to the malls. Restoration of the gatehouse will begin later this month and include thorough cleaning of the stone, reconstruction of the roof and restoration of the bronze plaque. The Jamaica Estates Association dedicated the plaque to ten men from the community who lost their lives during World War II. New lighting will be installed to highlight both the gatehouse and flagpole.
"I have lived on Midland Parkway for 60 years and no one in the history of Jamaica Estates has ever undertaken the beautification of the Midland Parkway Malls. Hats off to Councilman Gennaro for his extraordinary interest and dedication in getting this done. And many thanks to the Parks Department, Commissioner Benepe, and Queens Borough Commissioner Dorothy Lewandowski. The community is thrilled," said Michael Bookbinder, President of the Jamaica Estates Association.
Over the past five years, Parks & Recreation has spent more than $164 million for Queens park improvements, adding more than 80 acres of parkland and the largest recreational facility in any City park. Currently, Parks is in the midst of a major initiative to improve parks throughout Queens, with 25 projects costing $66 million under construction, and another 57 projects costing $72 million currently in design or procurement. In addition, under Mayor Bloomberg’s PlaNYC initiative to develop the sustainable growth of New York City by the year 2030, Highland and Rockaway parks will be developed into Queens’ next great, regional parks.
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CONTACT: Warner Johnston / Abigail Lootens (212) 360-1311