Queens Borough President Melinda Katz, Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer and Parks Commissioner Dorothy Lewandowski joined community members at the Big Six Towers Community Center Friday morning to reveal the designs that will transform the 44-year-old park. Van Bramer allocated $800,000 to the project while Katz provided the remaining $1 million.
“I have a 4-year-old and a 7-year-old and my local parks are the life blood of my family,” Katz said. “We want to thank the Parks Department and everyone who was involved in this community generated and really oriented park design.”
The 2.5 acre park, bound by 61st and 64th streets, Queens Boulevard and the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway, has not been upgraded since the 1980s. The renovations will be focused on .9 acres of the park to add new swings, more shrubbery and plants, an interactive spray shower that is activated with a button to conserve water and an adult fitness area. The park will also include renovated benches and game tables for seniors.
Kevin Doyle, president of the board association at Big Six Towers, a co-op that is home to almost 1,000 families in Woodside, said the renovations are welcome, especially because the closest park for children in Woodside that’s close to Big Bush Park’s size is Juniper Valley Park in Middle Village.
Woodside residents can also choose to visit Nathan Weidenbaum Park but Doyle said its location across from the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway is not ideal for small children and seniors.
“We’ve been talking about it for a long time and people were raising concerns and also lately, there’s been a lot of homeless people there and it was just becoming an unsightly thing,” Doyle said. “If you look around here, there’s really not another park quite some distance. There’s a small city playground on the other side of the expressway but our kids really don’t go over there. You try to cross over there and you see why.”
The space is currently home to handball courts and a children’s play area. Three of the handball courts will be removed to make space for the new amenities. Construction is set to begin fall 2016 with a ribbon-cutting ceremony slated for some time in 2017.
To announce the renovations, pre-k students from Towers Play-N- Learn, a daycare center located in Woodside, were invited to learn more about the improved park in their community.
“I’m thankful to the Parks Department to move this along and most especially grateful to the children today to remind us about why we do what we do,” Van Bramer said. “And everything we do in government is to make the lives of these children as good and as wonderful and as happy as they can be. And this park will do that.”