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The laughter of children acted as the soundtrack to a ribbon-cutting in Windmuller Park Tuesday morning.
Renovations to the park at 52nd Street and Woodside Avenue, which has been keeping Woodside a little more woody for 75 years, cost $1.7 million in City Council funds.
“It’s gorgeous. It’s just a gorgeous little park,” said city Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe.
More than 50 people, from adult civic leaders to children from Astoria’s Arrow Community Center, sat on chairs beneath the shade in Windmuller Park’s plaza sitting area during the ceremony.
The shaded plaza was just one part of the extensive upgrades. Other improvements included a reconstructed staircase leading from the elevated park down to Woodside Avenue, new benches, fences ground hydrants, lighting and drinking fountains. The slopes of the parks were also stabilized so new erosion could not occur and the drainage around the park was improved.
In addition, 12,000 new trees, shrubs, perennials and other plants were planted in the park while invasive species were removed.
“I think everyone can agree that the park is more beautiful today than it ever was,” said Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Sunnyside).
Windmuller Park was created in 1936, after banker Louis Windmuller donated his land to the city.
Benepe said the work on the park began through the Federal Works Progress Administration relief project and was completed in 1937. Unlike the original federally funded project, the renovations were paid for by funding from Van Bramer and his predecessor, former Councilman Eric Gioia.
“Thank you for keeping the money in this project,” Benepe said.
Despite the lack of funds from other sources, Benepe said the Parks Department is currently seeing the largest era of park expansion since the 1930s.
Joseph Conley, chairman of Community Board 2, also thanked the current and former councilmen, saying maintaining funds seems to always difficult in city budgets.
“Getting money into a budget always seems like the easy part,” Conley said.
Windmuller Park connects to the Lawrence Virigilo Playground and the Doughboy Plaza.
Benepe and Dorothy Lewandowski, the Queens parks commissioner, encouraged any interested residents to volunteer to do gardening in the park through their Partnerships for Parks program.
For more information, visit partnershipsforparks.org.
Reach reporter Rebecca Henely by e-mail at email@example.com or by phone at 718-260-4564.
©2011 Community Newspaper Group
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