CB 5 hears plans for playground at Juniper Valley

The Parks Department presented plans for a playground for children from 5- to 12-years-old at Juniper Valley Park at the Community Board 5 meeting Oct. 13. Photo by Rebecca Henely
By Rebecca Henely

The city Parks Department unveiled plans for the next phase of reconstruction of the playground in Juniper Valley Park and a medical counseling service provider asked to set up shop in Ridgewood during the Oct. 13 meeting of Community Board 5.

Dorothy Lewandowski, the Queens Parks commissioner, said the second phase of the project is meant to complement the playground for toddlers near 74th Street at the park in Middle Village. The toddler playground, which opened in April and was funded through City Council monies, was phase 1 of the project. Phase 2 will be a playground geared toward children aged 5 to 12 and, like the toddler playground, will have a pond theme since the park area used to be a swamp.

The new playground, measuring 8,740 square feet, will feature new swings, new play equipment with places to climb and a spray shower made to look like two giant cattails, Lewandowski said. Other decorations to give the playground a swampy feel include a dragonfly mountain, illustrations of ducks in concrete and boulders near the spray shower area.

“It’ll be a nice, interesting area for kids to play in,” Lewandowski said, “particularly in the hot summer days when we have the spray shower on.”

She said the playground will cost $750,000, paid for through Borough President Helen Marshall’s office. After more detailed schematics for the park are drawn, the Parks Department expects to get a contract bid early next year and build from summer 2011 to spring 2012.

“Anytime you rebuild a playground for kids, it brings more positive use into a neighborhood park,” Lewandowski said.

In addition, Dr. Susan Levit and Ertuania Jorge of JNS Counseling Services Inc. in Brooklyn announced plans to open a new medical counseling facility for patients with substance abuse and other medical problems at the site of a vacant medical center at 752 Onderdonk Ave. in Ridgewood.

“This is a community that we want to serve,” Jorge said.

Jorge, program director at JNS, said they decided to open at this location because the closest counseling center of this type is in Forest Hills. The center expects to serve 50 to 100 patients a day at the location. Some of the services the center plans to offer include medication management, psychiatric services, social work services, anger management counseling and parent counseling. The center will be treating patients aged 14 years and up and will be a multilingual facility with employees speaking English, Spanish, Polish, Ukrainian, Russian, Farsi, Italian and potentially Korean.

The center also hopes to offer General Education Degree and vocational school services as well as have training for Credentialed Alcohol and Substance Abuse counselors, Jorge said.

Levit, medical director at JNS, said the location was also chosen because it is in a good area where patients will not have much temptation to relapse. She said the substance abuse counseling will not be done for patients who are currently using.

“[It’s for] people who are on their way out of addiction to keep them out,” Levit said, “to keep them clean.”

Vincent Arcuri, the CB 5 chairman, said the request would go to the board’s Health and Human Services Committee.

Reach reporter Rebecca Henely by e-mail at rhenely@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4564.

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