Queens Borough President Helen Marshall and City Councilman Eric Gioia (D-Sunnyside) each secured $700,000 for upgrades to Queensbridge Park, which sits on 20 acres across the street from the largest public housing development in the country, Queensbridge Houses. "Today we're not just investing in a park, we're investing (in) a neighborhood," Gioia said in a statement released March 11 following a news conference in the park that sits in the shadow of the Queensborough Bridge along 21st Street. "Our waterfront should be a place for people (to) go bike, jog, or simply relax and enjoy the view. This development brings us one step closer.""Our parks are part of the urban landscape and serve as oases for people of all ages," Marshall added. "This joint capital investment will provide park improvements and a new soccer field that residents, youngsters from nearby schools and others can enjoy."Renovations that are slated to be complete in 2006 include a synthetic turf soccer field, revamped volleyball courts, new walkways and refurbished picnic areas. The park, which the city acquired the land for in 1939, boasts a variety of athletic facilities including baseball diamonds, a playground and basketball, volleyball and handball courts. Even with the $1.4 million renovation, much of the park will remain in disrepair because of a crumbling 70-year-old seawall along the waterfront that elected officials have been trying to get money to fix for years. Much of the 200-foot-long promenade, which is blocked off by a fence, is cracked and appears to be slipping into the river. Officials estimate that it will cost $6 million to $9 million to repair. About $1 million in city and federal funds has been raised for the effort by U.S. Reps. Carolyn Maloney (D-Astoria) and Joseph Crowley (D-Jackson Heights), state Assemblywoman Cathy Nolan (D-Ridgewood) and Gioia. Reach reporter Matthew Monks by e-mail at news@times
©2005 Community News Group
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