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Parks Department closes Oakland Lake Park for one year

Photo courtesy of Edward Mertz

The Parks Department closed Oakland Lake Park in Bayside last week to begin a huge one-year construction project. The project will include the installation of stone swales (similar to bioswales), cleaning the drainage system and planting new native wetland plants, according to the Parks Department.

The $2.5 million project’s aim is to improve water quality by reducing the amount of sewage water seeping into the lake during rainstorms, but some park-goers believe that closing the whole section of the park is a drastic move and it will leave many in the community at a loss for recreational activities. 

Eugene Harris, a professor at Queensborough Community College, is skeptical about how necessary the changes are. Harris maintains a Queensborough nature blog devoted to the flora and fauna of the park.

The lake, which is part of the larger Alley Pond Park, borders the college and Harris said that many students and faculty visited the lake to escape the stress of academics. But since the city fenced off the 46-acre area until next fall, the public is restricted from using any part of it.

“It’s crazy that they’re caging in the entire lake,” Harris said. “I can’t see why they couldn’t do it in portions so that the public can at least enjoy part of it.”

A Parks Department spokeswoman said it is necessary to keep the park closed for public safety and so that contractors can work unhindered. The spokeswoman noted that closing a park for major construction like this is typical procedure.

The Parks Department announced the project in 2011.

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