Mayor Bill de Blasio announced on Thursday that $150 million would be allocated to five city parks and Astoria Park was included in the list of lucky recipients.
As part of the city’s new Anchor Parks initiative, these parks will receive money to initiate upgrades like new soccer fields, comfort stations, running tracks and hiking trails. More than 75,000 New Yorkers live within walking distance of each anchor park and they were chosen based on “historical underinvestment, high surrounding population and potential for park development,” the Mayor’s office said.
“New Yorkers deserve to have the greatest parks in the world steps from their homes. That’s why our administration is focused on park equity, which brings fair access to and development of parks across the city,” de Blasio said. “The Anchor Parks program, joined with the Community Parks Initiative and Parks Without Borders, marks another major step in advancing park equity for all New Yorkers.”
The city acquired more than 56 acres of land in 1913 to create Astoria Park and its pool is the oldest and largest in New York City. Other amenities include outdoor tennis courts, a track, a bandstand, multiple trails, basketball courts and playgrounds.
Councilman Costa Constantinides has allocated funds to repair certain aspects of the park and add new amenities such as gaming tables and water fountains and the City Parks Foundation recently completed a makeover of the park’s tennis courts.
Constantinides also announced in January 2016 his plan to turn the center of the Astoria Park into a FIFA-sized soccer field for large-scale tournaments and high-profile games.
“This large investment in Astoria Park, and in four other parks citywide, will go a long way towards improving our vital greenspace,” Constantinides said. “The upgraded playgrounds, fields, and open areas will reinforce what we already know – Astoria Park has long been the jewel of our neighborhood. With these large-scale capital improvements, Astoria Park will have assets and amenities to match its use.”
The Parks Department will begin community outreach this fall to determine which improvements to pursue in each park.
Flushing Meadows Corona Park was also chosen to receive a portion of $40 million the city will allocate to eight parks as part of the Parks Without Borders program.
Additionally, the Mayor’s office has targeted more than 60 smaller parks throughout the city for its Community Parks Initiative, which will bring improvements like new playground equipment, benches, plantings and resurfaced playing courts.
“Astoria Park is a jewel of our city and it gives the people of western Queens a necessary respite, surrounded by nature, from the hustle and bustle of city-life,” said Assemblywoman Aravella Simotas. “As a lifelong Astorian raising my own daughter in the neighborhood, I’m delighted that the park is getting the resources it deserves. This will make a huge difference, not only in the beauty of the park, but also its recreational opportunities.”