NYC PARKS BREAKS GROUND ON HIGHLY ANTICIPATED TRAVERS PARK RECONSTRUCTION PROJECTFOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, April 20, 2018
NYC Parks Queens Borough Commissioner Dorothy Lewandowski today joined Queens Borough President Melinda Katz, Council Member Danny Dromm, State Senator Jose Peralta, Assembly Member Michael DenDekker, and NYC Department of Transportation Queens Deputy Borough Commissioner Albert Silvestri to ceremonially break ground on Travers Park in Jackson Heights. This innovative park reconstruction project will span across three parcels -- Travers Park, the 78th Street Pedestrian Plaza, and Staunton Field – to create a seamless open space for the community to gather, play, and enjoy the Park’s popular year-round farmers market.
“The best of our city’s parks integrate with the adjacent communities, without boundaries, flowing from park to street to neighborhood, just as pedestrians do,” said Commissioner Silver. “The new Travers Park will be a more open and welcoming space for everyone, providing space for play, sports, and relaxation. We thank the community for their patience during this process, and I look forward to re-opening this park in 2019!”
"Hooray! The long-awaited renovation of Travers Park has finally begun," said NYC Council Member Daniel Dromm. "We, as a community, fought so hard to make this renovation a reality and now it’s actually happening! Jackson Heights is a thriving and growing community which treasures its parks. This additional green space will ensure that Travers Park meets the needs of our residents for generations to come. I am pleased to have allocated the funding to bring this project into fruition. Improving our parks and playgrounds remains a top priority of mine."
State Senator Jose Peralta said, “Public parks are safe havens for our children, families, neighbors and visitors. Particularly in Jackson Heights, Travers Park is one of the few open public spaces we have available for the community to enjoy their free time, play sports, or simply hang out friends. This reconstruction project, once completed, will transform Travers into one of our most treasured jewels. I want to thank Councilmember Dromm, the Parks Department, Borough President Katz and all those involved in the soon-to-be renaissance of Travers Park.”
“For too long Jackson Heights has been a target for over development and yet during this recent construction boom Councilmember Dromm and other Jackson Heights elected officials have fought for the inclusion of more schools and more green open space for our residents,” said Assembly Member DenDekker. “This particular project includes not only the renovation of Travis Park but also its connection to Staunton Field, another site that was targeted for development. The new combined space will allow our community to have more park space for a variety of activities. I can’t wait to bring my grandchildren to the New Travis Park next year.”
"We are thrilled to be a part of this effort to transform three neighboring spaces – Travers Park, the 78th Street Plaza and the former Garden School lot – into a project that will be a great example of the Parks Without Borders initiative," said DOT Queens Deputy Borough Commissioner Albert Silvestri. "We thank the Parks Department, Council Member Dromm, Borough President Katz and our partners at the Jackson Heights Green Alliance for their leadership in bringing more open space to a neighborhood so in need of it."
The reconstruction of Travers Park was funded with a total of $7.1 million, including $3.6 million allocated by Council Member Dromm, $2.5 million from Mayor de Blasio, and an additional $1 million from Borough President Katz.
The centerpiece of the park will be a gently mounted great lawn, surrounded with flowering trees, benches, and game tables. An expanded play area will feature equipment for all age groups, and a multi-purpose area for open play. The 78th Street Plaza will be raised to eliminate the curb and allow for seamless access from 77th Street to 79th Street. It will feature a performance area in the center, complete with stadium seating. Staunton Field will have a new multi-purpose asphalt field that can accommodate a variety of sports from tennis, to kickball and hop scotch.
Construction officially began in March 2018. In order to maximize the amount of accessible parkland at all times, the project is being constructed in phases. Once a phase of the work is complete, it will be become open to the public prior to the next phase beginning. The entire project is expected to be complete by fall 2019.
The Travers Park tot lot is currently in design and will be renovated as part of a separate contract. The tot lot project is funded with $2 million from Borough President Katz.
Travers Park is named in memory of Thomas J. Travers (1897-1958), a prominent Queens Democrat and Jackson Heights community leader. Born and raised in Manhattan, he attended St. Agnes Church and Parochial School and MacDowell Lyceum. He served in the U.S. Navy during World War I and returned to New York to marry his childhood sweetheart, Ann Desmond. They settled in Jackson Heights, where Travers took an active part in the social and political life of the community.
The City purchased the Staunton Field property from the Garden School in 2013. The site was named that year in honor of Rory Staunton, a student at the Garden School who advocated for his community parks.
Directions to Travers Park
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