New initiatives seek to better Flushing Meadows Corona Park

By Madina Toure

Community members presented design concepts to help visitors to more easily navigate Flushing Meadows Corona Park as part of a joint project between the Queens Museum and the city Department of Parks and Recreation last week.

The four design concepts unveiled were artistic entrances that reflect surrounding communities, ground markings to lead people in and out of the park with ease, a sensory space for children that would function as a play area targeting all five senses for under-used open space and buildings in the park and an information point with World’s Fair flavor.

The concepts are part of a project that the nonprofit Design Trust for Public Space, in conjunction with the Queens Museum and the Parks Department, is working on to strengthen the access, circulation and connectivity of the park.

“We’re proud to be able to help Queens residents shape the future of Flushing Meadows Corona Park,” Susan Chin, Design Trust’s executive director, said in a statement. “This exhibition is only the beginning of a true collaboration between community members and the city agencies to maximize the community use of this invaluable public resource and renowned destination in NYC.”

David Strauss, the Queens Museum’s deputy director, called the project a “dream come true,” commending the work of the community advisers and credited the Parks Department with acting “with the needs of the community in mind.”

“These four distinct groups are coming together to create a new model for civic engagement in the public design process and something that can be taken forward by other city agencies,” Strauss said.

Last spring, Design Trust requested projects for what it called “The Energetic City: Connectivity in the Public Realm.” The winning project was a proposal from the Queens Museum and the city Department of Parks and Recreation called “The World’s Park: Reconnecting a Regional Park with its Neighbors.”

Last month, residents offered suggestions on ways to improve the park at a community forum. The forum consisted of four groups focusing on the themes of access, navigation, learning and opportunity.

Jason Chin-Fatt, a community adviser who was part of the navigation team and a member of Sustainable Queens, said he usually uses the park for recreational purposes but discovered other uses for the park.

“It’s the largest park probably in the city, but I didn’t know that the marina was part of the park, which is behind Citi Field,” Chin-Fatt said. “Just different parts of the park that I hadn’t explored before that I didn’t actually know was part of the park land.”

Raychel Oshea-Patino, a community adviser who was part of the learning team, said that what united all the people involved in the process is that they all use the park for various purposes.

“We all lived in proximity to the park and we use it on a regular basis,” Oshea-Patino said. “It was tremendous and rewarding. It was a great project and I’m really excited about continuing it. I think there’s great opportunity to sustain it.”

Reach reporter Madina Toure by e-mail at mtour[email protected]local.com or by phone at (718) 260–4566.

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