Press Releases

Wednesday, October 20, 2021
No. 99


$4.6 Million from Mayor and City Council will transform outdated playground

NYC Parks Queens Borough Commissioner Michael Dockett yesterday joined Queens Borough President Donovan Richards, Council Member James F. Gennaro, Community Board 12 District Manager Yvonne Reddick, and Executive Director of King Manor Museum Kelsey Brow to cut the ribbon on a new permanent Parks Enforcement station in Rufus King Park, and announce $4.6 million in funding to reconstruct the playground.

“Rufus King Park is in the heart of a busy transit hub, vibrant shopping, and cultural center in Jamaica, Queens,” said Queens Borough Commissioner Michael Dockett. “These improvements will make the very popular and highly trafficked park safer, more welcoming, and even more fun! We are grateful to Mayor de Blasio and Council Member Gennaro for funding these important improvements.”

“Our parks are the anchors of our communities and all Queens families, regardless of neighborhood, deserve nothing less than first-class parks and playgrounds to call their own,” said Queens Borough President Donovan Richards, Jr. “As we recover from the pandemic, fairness and equity must be at the heart of all that we do, including providing accessible, high-quality recreation space for our children. Thank you to NYC Parks for your partnership as we make Rufus King Park an even safer and more inviting place for our families.”

The new substation will provide a location for Parks Enforcement Patrol Officers to report into, as well as a home base for fixed-post maintenance staff and equipment, and an improved comfort station for the park goers.

Design for the playground renovations will kick off in Spring 2022 with a community scoping meeting. Improvements will include landscaping, new spray showers, lighting, seating and safety surfacing. The project is funded by Council Member Gennaro ($3.8 million) and Mayor de Blasio ($817,000).

These improvements build on other recent improvements to the park, thanks to $2.8 million in City Council and Mayoral funding, which included additional plantings, and new reconstructed fence and entrances, providing increased access into the park and a tranquil space after a long day.

A new HVAC system was also installed in June at King Manor Museum thanks to $717,000 in City Council, Mayoral, and Borough President funding.

The Parks Enforcement Patrol, or PEP, is a team of dedicated officers who preserve and protect parks and public facilities. PEP officers enforce NYC Parks rules & regulations, educate the public, respond to the concerns of park patrons, and ensure that our parks and public spaces are safe and welcoming to all visitors.

King Manor Museum and Park in Jamaica was once the home of Rufus King (1755-1827), a distinguished lawyer, statesman, and gentleman farmer. The son of a wealthy lumber merchant from Maine, King graduated from Harvard in 1777. He suspended his law studies to serve in the Revolutionary War in 1778. Two years later, King was admitted to the bar in Massachusetts. He served as a member of the Confederation Congress from 1784 to 1787, where he introduced a plan that prevented the spread of slavery into the Northwest Territories. King was a delegate to the Constitutional Convention in 1787, and made his most famous contribution to American history as a framer and signer of the Constitution.

King Manor has operated as a museum since 1900 under the care of the King Manor Association of Long Island, Inc. The house is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and the house and park are designated New York City landmarks. Along with the museum, Rufus King Park is home to a gazebo and soccer field, which can be found on the northern end of the park near the basketball and handball courts, and a children's play area located next to the park's 153rd Street entrance. The remainder of the green space is set aside for pathways that allow for quiet reflection and contemplation in this historic natural setting.

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