Astoria Heights Playground


Thursday, July 19, 2018
No. 72

NYC Parks Commissioner Mitchell J. Silver, FAICP, today joined Council Member Costa Constantinides, and Community Board 1 District Manager Florence Koulouris, to city the ribbon on the reconstruction of Astoria Heights Playground, including a full reconstruction of the comfort station. It is one of ten parks in Queens that is receiving an investment through the Community Parks Initiative, NYC Parks’ plan for an equitable parks system. The project is funded with nearly $8 million total, and was the first major renovation to Astoria Heights Playground in more than 20 years.

“Astoria Heights Playground, like all of the Community Parks Initiative sites, was long overdue for an update so we’re grateful to be able to give this space the attention it deserves,” said Commissioner Silver. “Thanks to an incredible investment of $7.9 million, we’re here today opening a park for all generations to use and enjoy.”

"Thanks to the capital investment of public dollars, the children and families of Astoria can enjoy the long-anticipated upgrades to Astoria Heights Playground," said Borough President Katz. "The new Playground is for the community, by the community, thanks to substantial input on the design from community members and students through the Community Parks Initiative. Special thanks to NYC Parks and Commissioner Silver and Commissioner Lewandowski for their dedication to Queens' families."

"Astoria Heights Park has been a haven in our community, which is why it was important that it endeavor as a 21st century open space," said Council Member Costa Constantinides. "I am proud to have allocated $1.1 million to help Astoria Heights Park become on par with other City green spaces. This partnership with our Mayor and Queens Borough President Melinda Katz ensures that for generations to come, Astoria families can now enjoy its sports courts, play equipment, picnic tables, and spray shower without having to venture too far."

“DEP is proud to partner with NYC Parks through the Community Parks Initiative, which is transforming neighborhood parks in all five boroughs,” said DEP Commissioner Vincent Sapienza. “We have committed more than $50 million to this initiative to install new green infrastructure that will help to both capture stormwater, and beautify communities.”

The goals of the project were to increase and upgrade active play capacity for the park, enhance environmental features at the site, and provide areas for passive use. Special attention was paid to grouping the various activities in the park; athletic courts are featured on the upper side, while a playground and passive areas are on the lower side.

Astoria Heights Playground now features new play equipment for kids up to age 15, and a spray shower area featuring ten in-ground spray jets and five upright spray features. A new athletic field for tennis or volleyball is surrounded by an expanded walking track, and complements the existing handball and basketball courts. New pathways within the park and an accessible ramp make the space easier to navigate.

The design for this project was based on feedback gathered directly from community members, as well as administration and students from I.S. 10, which shares the space. NYC Parks’ landscape architects also took into account data received from more than 100 residents who responded to surveys conducted by the Friends of Astoria Park.

The playground project was funded with $2.2 million from Mayor de Blasio through the Community Parks Initiative and Parks Without Borders programs, $1.5 million from the Department of Environmental Protection as part of its larger commitment to the initiative, $1.1 million from Council Member Constantinides, and $1 million from Borough President Katz. A second project to reconstruct the comfort station was funded with $2.1 million from Mayor de Blasio. The total funding amount for both projects was $7.9 million.

DEP has committed approximately $50 million in funding for the construction of green infrastructure installations at the CPI sites. The green infrastructure will manage the precipitation that falls on the parks, and some of the surrounding streets, keeping it out of the combined sewer system and helping to reduce combined sewer overflows that sometimes occur during heavy rainfall. New York City has the most ambitious and aggressive green infrastructure program in the nation, with thousands of installations currently under construction across the city. In addition to managing stormwater, green infrastructure helps to improve air quality while also providing shade and lowering summertime temperatures.

The Community Parks Initiative (CPI), launched by Mayor de Blasio in October 2014, is NYC Parks’ first major step toward a more equitable park system. CPI is a multi-faceted investment in the smaller public parks that are located in New York City’s densely populated and growing neighborhoods where there are higher-than-average concentrations of poverty. CPI is funded through 2019 with $318 million in capital dollars funding renovations of more than 60 community parks that have not undergone significant improvements in decades.

Directions to Astoria Heights Playground

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