Reconstruction resumes at Bowne Park

A virtual Town Hall meeting was held last week to discuss the progress of the $2.014 million Bowne Park Pond Reconstruction project, following a more than half-decade-long delay in the construction schedule.

The project has been pushed back several times over the years. The designs, which were expected to be completed in 2016, were not approved until June 2018. Then the procurement of the project, which was slated for March 2019, was pushed back due to COVID-related impacts. This portion of the project was not actualized until March last year.

The event was coordinated by City Councilwoman Vickie Paladino, in cooperation with representatives from the Parks Department and the office of Queens Borough President Donovan Richards.

“I am confident that we will continue to work together and finally, after seven-and-a-half years, present a completed park to the community,” Paladino stated.

“The people asked, and I delivered. I have been in meetings with the Parks Department since January, urging them to complete Bowne Park. As a constant advocate of total transparency, I told my constituents that I would facilitate constructive and open dialogue between them and the Parks Department, and that is exactly what the point of this Town Hall was. Promises made, promises kept.”

The event opened with updates from Queens Parks Commissioner Michael Dockett on the various projects at Bowne Park, which was followed by a substantive Q&A session with constituents focusing on the timeline, explanation of delays, and overall scope of work.

“I thank Council Member Paladino for convening this community meeting to discuss capital projects in the park, and was happy to share that work has resumed and the projects are progressing,” Dockett stated. “Community engagement is paramount for successful, thriving community greenspaces, and we will continue to work collaboratively with the Council Member and the community to ensure that Bowne Park continues to be a Flushing gem.”
Borough President Richards said that Bowne Park is a key part of the Queens community that has long been overdue for reconstruction.

“I am glad that progress is finally being made on that front,” Richards said in a statement. “My family and I look forward to enjoying an improved Bowne Park very soon.”

Work on the pond and bocce court plaza are expected to be completed by Spring 2023.

Plans to reconstruct Kissena Corridor fields

Community members had the chance to give their input and ideas on a planned $2.7 million reconstruction of the ball fields in Kissena Corridor Park.
“The ballfields in this section of Kissena Corridor Park have long suffered from pockmarked grass and flooding issues,” said Councilman Peter Koo. “Nevertheless, the fields are frequently used by our community due to a lack of other options.”
Koo and Speaker Corey Johnson secured a total of $3 million to fix the fields that sit on 1.5 acres along Utopia Parkway between Peck and Underhill avenues.
James Mituzas, director of Landscape Architecture for Queens NYC Parks, said the project could take over three years.
“We won’t have a shovel in the ground for another two years, and the construction process takes about 12 to 18 months,” he said. “We’ll probably miss a whole baseball season for construction.”
The project will address other issues, as well. Fencing will be repaired and drinking fountinas, security lighting and benches will be added.
Lee Ann Beauchamp, Landscape Architect at City of New York Parks & Recreation presented the issues that will be fixed.
“We will be reconstructing the ballfield, but we’ll also be reconstructing the pathways that lead to and around them,” said Lee Ann Beauchamp, a landscape architect with the Parks Department.
Jennifer Elias, who lives two blocks from the fields, said they are often used as a dog run.
“I can’t recall the last time I saw a ball game being played there,” she said.
Frank Weber, former president of St. Kevin’s Youth Guild, holds permits to use the fields and asked for natural turf to be part of the redesign.
“With the drainage issues, if you notice when you’re doing the surveys, there is an average of one to two steel manhole covers in the outfields, and if a child is running to catch a ball he or she could land on that manhole” he said.
Mituzas said that could be a possibility
“The type of funding we have right now for this project, it would be ideal for us to reconstruct the field as a natural turf ballfield,” said Mituzas. “I think that’s something we can do for this park at this time.”

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