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Anti-algae renovation slated for Bowne Park pond

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The $250,000 project, expected to be completed within a year, is financed entirely by discretionary funds...

By Alexander Dworkowitz

The city Parks Department is designing a project to install a system that would prevent algae from accumulating on the surface of Bowne Park’s pond.

The $250,000 project, expected to be completed within a year, is financed entirely by discretionary funds appropriated by state Assemblyman Brian McLaughlin (D-Flushing).

The project marks an effort to clean up a pond that local residents said has seen better days.

“You could have walked on it the other day it was so bad,” said Agnes Robb, who sits on the board of the Bowne Park Civic Association.

In Bowne Park’s pond, as with other bodies of water, algae accumulates when there is little or no current and a resulting lack of oxygen.

The plant life can cause problems for fish living in ponds and lakes and is considered an aesthetic nuisance, Queens Parks Commissioner Richard Murphy told a Tuesday news conference to announce the project

For many years, the city would dump copper sulfate into bodies of water in its parks to poison the algae.

But about 20 years ago the city stopped using the chemical compound because it caused environmental damage.

Since then, the city has experimented with various solutions.

The Bowne Park pond currently has a solar panel floating in the middle of the water. The panel is connected to pipes, which produce bubbles, help circulate the water and combat algae in certain sections of the lakes.

The new Parks Department project applies the same principle on a larger scale. The city will install a holding tank in the park to circulate the water to and from the pond.

“They’re making it like a fish tank,” Murphy said.

The Parks Department plans to begin work in about six months. The construction work itself is expected to last a couple of months, during which time the pond will be closed to the public.

City Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe, who was visiting Bowne Park for the first time, said the algae problem at the Flushing park was not as bad as at other parks throughout the city.

“As you look at the pond, it’s relatively pretty,” he said. “Every pond in the parks empire is covered in scummy algae at this time of year.”

McLaughlin, who lives within walking distance of the pond, said he had wanted to move to the community years ago when he lived in Queensboro Hill.

“I used to ride my bike and sit on the bench right over there and read the Sunday New York Times,” McLaughlin said. “I said I wish I will one day have the resources to live in a community like this.”

Residents who live near the park said the pond was used for fishing in the summer and ice skating in the winter. The pond had once been a destination for model boat races.

“They gave up and went to Long Island,” Robb said.

Reach reporter Alexander Dworkowitz by e-mail at Timesledger@aol.com or call 229-0300 Ext. 141.

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