Even if they don’t have one in their backyard, every Forest Hills child now has a “treehouse” where they can play.
City officials gathered at the green space on Union Turnpike inside of Forest Park on March 7 for a ribbon-cutting ceremony marking the completion of the playground’s $1.45 million renovation. The park was remodeled with a treehouse theme and includes safer playground equipment and improved access for disabled persons.
“With a new entrance way and a layout that allows wheelchairs to navigate safely between play elements, Joe Devoy Playground has been transformed into a completely accessible space,” said Queens Parks Commissioner Dorothy Lewandowski. “Spring is right around the corner, and now kids of all abilities can exercise their imaginations at this new treehouse-themed playground and enjoy the great outdoors in one of Queens’ flagship parks.”
Lewandowski along with Queens Borough President Melinda Katz and Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley participated in the event. Construction at Devoy Playground began last June, and according to the Parks Department, the project was completed months ahead of schedule.
“Forest Park is a jewel in our city’s parks system due to its natural beauty and to amenities like DeVoy Playground,” said Queens Borough President Melinda Katz. “With spring around the corner, the newly renovated DeVoy Playground will make it an even more engaging place for the growing families around Forest Park.”
The new and improved Devoy Playground was redesigned to fit in with the surrounding landscape of Forest Park, much of which is heavily wooded and covered with hilly terrain. The entirety of Forest Park sits on the Harbor Hill Moraine, a series of steep hills formed by the Wisconsin glacier some 20,000 years ago.
As with the ideal treehouse, the playground has a tire swing and is colored in earth tones. It also features amenities typically found in a city playground: steel drum play features, a drinking fountain, panel games, new seating and swings. At the request of local residents, the Parks Department retained animal sculptures and wood climbing logs that had been there for years.
Devoy Playground is named for Joseph Devoy, a longtime activist in Forest Hills who was the first chairperson of Community Board 9 (later Community Board 6) and co-founded the Forest Hills Volunteer Ambulance Corps. He died in January of 2000.