There’s a Buz about new Crocheron Playground

City and borough leaders gathered in Bayside on Monday for a ceremonial groundbreaking of the Buz O’Rourke playground, located at the western edge of Crocheron Park between 33 and 34 Aves.
The playground, formerly known as the 33 Ave. Playground, was run-down and in need of repair when Queens Borough President Claire Shulman allocated $975,000 in the city’s capital budget to renovate the playground. Work began in April and the playground is scheduled for completion by November.
The playground is being named after the late James ‘Buz’ O’Rourke, who worked as Shulman’s director of constituent affairs and liason to the City uniformed forces before his death in Septptember, 1997. O’Rourke was also the Democratic district leader for 15 years as well as the owner of a liquor store. He was born in Flushing and was a Bayside resident for over 40 years.
"This is a very important playground," Shulman said. "The community needed it and I can’t think of a better person to dedicate the park to. Buz was a devoted public servant and a very good friend of mine. I miss him a lot, but everytime we come here we can think of him."
Family members, many of which remain in Bayside, remembered Buz as a quiet but friendly man who was devoted to letting children enjoy the community’s parks.
"This playground is where he took us when we were kids," said O’Rourke’s daughter Kathleen Riley. "He used to come and shovel out snow for us and the other children in the winter so we could play. We’re all very excited."
When completed, the renovated playground will include a basketball court, modular play equipment, spray showers, swings, decorative pavement, as well as a flower garden.
Also in attendance at the groundbreaking was O’Rourke’s twin brother, Father Bill O’Rourke, who spoke about his brother’s service to his community and his loved ones.
"Later in life he took care of our mother, who had Altzheimers, for as long as he could," Father O’Rourke said. "He cared for her until he couldn’t anymore, and that to me is the mark of a great soul."

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