By Nathan Duke
The city broke ground this week on the construction of a long-awaited skateboard park under the Triborough Bridge in Astoria Park that is expected to finally open in September, a spokeswoman for the city Parks Department said.
City Councilman Peter Vallone Jr. (D-Astoria) said the site would help to prevent neighborhood youths from using other parks to skateboard.
“We’ve all seen kids using other parks like Athens Square to do their skateboarding,” he said. “So, this is a win-win situation. These kids will get a space to skateboard in an area not being used by senior citizens and the seniors will get a much quieter park.”
Vallone had proposed the project six years ago after he noticed a large parcel of land under the bridge that was fenced off and filled with construction equipment. Upon investigating, he found that the lease of the construction company using the site, which had performed work on the Triborough Bridge for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, had expired.
The councilman asked the Parks Department not to renew the lease and in July 2007 the company using the site removed its equipment. The construction of the skateboard park had been delayed as the company removed oil from the site and the city explored means of making it as soundproof as possible.
A Parks spokeswoman said construction began at the park March 1 and that it was expected to open in early September.
The park, which will be located under the Triborough Bridge in Astoria Park, will resemble an urban plaza. It will include several small benches, rails and ledges, embankments, colored concrete and ramps.
No ramp at the park will be higher than 3 feet.
The total cost for the project is $1 million, most of which was secured by Vallone.
Western Queens skaters often use several neighborhood sites for skateboarding, including Athens Square Park at 30th Avenue and 30th Street. Police have said that park is not supposed to be used for skateboarding.
Reach reporter Nathan Duke by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718-260-4566.