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Astoria skate park finally a go: City

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Vallone, who secured $1 million for the urban plaza-styled skate park, said the site will be the first of its kind in the five boroughs and will discourage skaters from using other neighborhood sites where skateboarding is not allowed."This will give kids a place to skate that is far away from the busy sidewalks and parks where they sometimes inconvenience other people, especially seniors," he said. "These kids will be outside, exercising and enjoying themselves. I'm happy to provide them with a venue to skate rather than sit in front of a TV playing video games."Western Queens skaters currently use several neighborhood sites for skateboarding, including Athens Square Park at 30th Avenue and 30th Street. Police at that site said it was not supposed to be used for skateboarding.Contractors will likely break ground on the skate park, located under the Triborough Bridge in Astoria Park, in July and complete construction in six months, a spokeswoman for the city's Parks Department said. The skate park would likely open in spring or summer 2009, she said.The city provided additional funds for the $1.29 million project, he said.The park, which will resemble an urban plaza, will include several small benches, rails and ledges, Vallone said. No ramp at the park will be higher than 3 feet, he said.Four years ago the councilman noticed a large parcel of land under the bridge that was fenced off and full of construction equipment and, upon investigation, found that the lease of the construction company using the site had expired. Vallone said he asked the city's Parks Department not to renew the lease and in July 2007 the company using the parcel removed its equipment. The site is currently vacant and ready for construction, he said."I've been working to bring this project to Astoria for a long time," he said. "Before, all we had here was trucks and equipment. Now, we will have a great park for kids to come and have fun."Reach reporter Nathan Duke by e-mail at news@timesledger.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 156.

Updated 6:58 pm, October 10, 2011
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