Van Alst Playground


Tuesday, June 27, 2017
No. 68

Van Alst Playground in Astoria, Queens, reopens after $3.5 million investment

With more neighborhood playground makeovers coming online this summer and fall, City is fulfilling commitment to an equitable park system

NYC Parks Commissioner Mitchell J. Silver, FAICP, today joined Council Member Costa Constantinides, and kids from P.S. 171, to cut the ribbon on Van Alst Playground in Astoria, the first neighborhood playground to be fully reconstructed under the Community Parks Initiative (CPI). Today’s event represents a milestone in the City’s commitment to CPI, a plan for investing in under-resourced parks in order to create a more equitable parks system, and the first phase of NYC Parks: Framework for an Equitable Future.

“When I started as Parks Commissioner, the Mayor tasked me with creating a fair and balanced Park system for our city,” said Commissioner Silver. “It is a great occasion today to cut the ribbon on the first of many park improvements coming to high-needs neighborhoods, where open space plays a critical role in community development.”

Council Member Costa Constantinides said, “Improving our parks help improve entire neighborhoods. Families near Van Alst Playground and PS 171 students will soon be able to enjoy a renovated greenspace. A new multipurpose space for sports, new play equipment, renovated handball courts, and an upgraded spray shower will enhance the recreational experience for children and parents. The green infrastructure improvements and lighting updates bring environmental and safety benefits. Thank you to the Parks Department for ensuring that this Community Parks Initiative capital project is completed ahead of schedule. I also thank Parks Commissioner Silver and DEP Acting Commissioner Sapienza for their partnership.”

"The Community Parks Initiative is bringing real improvements to neighborhood parks around the city," said State Senator Daniel Squadron. "CPI came out of a simple idea: all New Yorkers should have access to quality parks and open space. Today, we celebrate another step in that push with the Van Alst Playground. Thank you to the City, Commissioner Silver and the Park Department, DEP, Councilmember Constantinides and my colleagues."

“DEP is proud to be a partner in NYC Parks’ Community Parks Initiative which is transforming neighborhood parks across the city,” said NYC DEP Commissioner Vincent Sapienza. “We are always looking for ways in which we can reduce the water that enters our sewer system to help mitigate the risk of CSO’s, and we were able to do just that with this project at Van Alst. The newly installed green infrastructure at this playground will help to reduce stormwater runoff, improve the health of the surrounding waterways, and beautify the neighborhood.”

Van Alst Playground is one of the first 35 sites that was announced by Mayor de Blasio in October 2014 to receive funding for reconstruction under CPI. Almost all of those sites are now in active construction and we’ll begin to see many of these playgrounds opening later this summer, fall and beyond. Since it was announced, the CPI funding has expanded so that we can fully reconstruct more sites. Thus far 56 CPI Capital upgrade sites have been announced. Later this year we expect to announce an additional 11 sites bringing the total to 67 parks and playgrounds throughout the city. All of the parks and playgrounds that will receive improvements are in dense, fast-growing neighborhoods with an above-average percentage of residents living below the poverty level.

The improvements to Van Alst Playground were funded with $3 million allocated by Mayor de Blasio through the Community Parks Initiative, as well as nearly $500,000 from DEP for Green Infrastructure improvements that were incorporated into the design. The design for the project was based on community input gathered at a public scoping meeting in December 2014. The goal of the project was to improve the playground’s interface with the surrounding neighborhood, expand active and passive recreation opportunities for all age groups and ability levels, and improve environmental quality and nighttime surveillance. The multipurpose area was transformed from a cracked asphalt lot into a colorful, well-structured space for sports including basketball, soccer, track, and painted games. New play equipment was installed, as well as spray showers to provide local kids with a place to cool off during the summer months. Existing handball courts were reconstructed, an adult fitness area was added, and decorative lightpoles were installed. The improved playground offers a variety of activities for all ages, is completely accessible, and is more welcoming to the community.

Van Alst is a Jointly Operated Playground that is shared with P.S. 171.

Directions to Van Alst Playground

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