At Wednesday’s Community Board 5 meeting, representatives from the Parks Department unveiled the design for improvements to the park’s spray showers. The $2 million project will update the play area and add several enhancements.
“We are going to keep the existing footprint,” said Theresa Dewey, a project manager with the Parks Department. “We just want to update it, make it more interactive and a little more fun for families and children.”
Officials will take away the decorative rubber mats in the spray shower, which Dewey said weren’t in good condition and couldn’t withstand the water’s wear-and-tear.
“The drainage works pretty well in this spray shower area,” she said. “The rubber mats aren’t holding up that great, so we will remove those.”
They will add new colored concrete pavement and design it in a circular shape to match the layout with the playground and other planting areas. The project will also add new benches and trees to some of the empty tree pits.
“We will be using color concrete and colorful spray fixtures that will make it nice and add a good accent to the playground,” she said.
Dewey said the plan calls for lowering the steel perimeter fence from four feet to two-and-a-half feet by the entrance.
The spray zone is broken into two areas: the youth and active zone and a child and family zone. The active zone will feature upright spay elements, water cannons and ground spray elements.
The family zone will be more relaxed, with mostly ground sprays for the children. The area will remain flat, Dewey said, for other potential performance activities at the space.
Community board members offered a few suggestions, such as offsetting entrances to prevent bicycles from from riding straight through the park and adding bumps on top of fence to prevent skateboarders sliding on top. Dewey said she will look into all of the recommendations.
Parks officials are scheduled to finish the design by the end of the year. Construction will likely start in the summer of 2018, with an open date by summer 2019. This summer, Dewey said, the spray showers will still be in use.
The running track and soccer field at Juniper Valley Park are also set to be renovated, according to Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley. The $8 million project already has the necessary funding.
However, construction can’t start until renovations to Frank Principe Park’s ballfields in Maspeth are complete.
“The reason we can’t do Juniper Park is because we would have no place to put the football and soccer players that depend on Brennan Field,” Crowley said at the CB5 meeting. “Although it is in dire need, that’s the way the process is working within the Parks Department.”
Once officials break ground at Principe Park, which is scheduled for early fall, the design process will begin for the Juniper Valley Park’s renovations.
“So when [Principe Park] is finished, which should be under a year,” Crowley said, “you’ll be ready to put the shovel in the ground.”