Under the stewardship of the late Elizabeth McQueen, the group advocated for more funding to improve the park’s seawall and field house. They also planned events, cleanups and other programs for residents.
When McQueen became sick two years ago, she asked Franklin to take over. She’s been the president ever since, continuing McQueen’s legacy even after her passing.
“It’s a different way of community outreach,” Franklin said. “Now I can bring more of our community to help beautify the park, to help keep the park active, and to help keep it within our community.”
Franklin works at the Jacob Riis Settlement House. She’s often seen leading neighborhood youth.
In her role as head of the Friends group, her goal is to beautify the park and keep the community active.
“We’re making sure there’s more events happening in the park, bringing the kids out more,” she said, “more programming, more environmental, more planting and gardening.”
Franklin said the park is fundamental for the physical well-being for the residents of Queensbridge Houses, the largest public housing development in the country.
“Without this park, we would have nowhere for the kids to go,” she said. “Nowhere for families to meet and nowhere to have programs outside for the youth and residents in Queensbridge.”
Franklin is in the midst of planning for summer events, such as children’s activities, Family Day and even puppet shows. The Parks Department also recently announced that Summerstage, a free musical festival series hosted at city parks, is coming back to Queensbridge Park.
“[We’re planning] different activities in the park so we can bring the community in the park to keep it active,” she said.