The City Parks Department unveiled a new design plan on Tuesday, which looks to upgrade the playground at Bowne Park in Flushing.
The $2.5 million renovation project will be completed in two phases – the first addressing needed changes to the playground and equipment, with a second phase focused on addressing the pond – and is part of a collaborative effort between Councilman Paul Vallone (D-Bayside) and Borough President Melinda Katz.
“Bowne Park has always been a gem in North Flushing and these upgrades will ensure that children and families will be able to continue to enjoy it for years to come,” Vallone said in a statement. “I look forward to working with the community and the Parks Department to ensure this project and its development moves swiftly.”
For Vallone, a first-term City Council Member, the project was one of the first he wanted to undertake in office. Allocating $1.45 million in funding from the 2014 fiscal budget plus an additional $1 million from Katz, the project was finally able to get off the ground.
Katz said that the design plans will also include the addition of a gated toddler area for kids between the ages 4 to 6, a new basketball court, playground equipment inspired by Bowne Park’s oak and elm trees and sprinklers, which will be designed to look like turtles, for children to use during the hot summer months.
“It makes for a much more safe play atmosphere,” Katz said, adding that the new toddler parks will make it easier for parents to keep a close eye on their kids.
Queens Borough Parks Commissioner Dorothy Lewandowski said it has been less than a year since Katz and Vallone agreed to allocate funds for the project and it is now starting to come together.
“When [the Parks Department] first came before us, everybody was onboard with the plans,” Warren Schreiber, a member of Community Board 7’s Parks Committee, said about the proposal. “It’s going to be beautiful when it’s done.”
The design and bidding process should be complete by the end of the year, with the first phase of the project expected to begin in early 2016. Phase I will address the improvements to the playground area in the lower third of the park, while the second phase of the project will focus on fixing up the pond, which was previously infested with red tide algae.