Improvement on way for Gantry Plaza State Park

By Bill Parry

The Hunters Point Parks Conservancy was awarded a $12,000 matching grant from the state for upgrades to Gantry Plaza State Park in Long Island City. The funding will replace damaged Adirondack chairs, cast-iron tree grates and broken light fixtures throughout the popular waterfront park.

It will also fund a postcard campaign aimed at the surrounding neighborhood to publicize and support conservancy-led planting, gardening, weeding and clean-up events. The conservancy will have to raise an additional $1,800 in matching funds.

“We worked very closely with park officials to identify needed upgrades and improvements for Gantry Plaza State Park that would improve the experience for all visitors to the park,” HPPC President Rob Basch said. “We lead volunteer events throughout the spring, summer and fall and we hope this grant will allow us to reach more people and bring additional volunteers to help out.”

The grant, announced last week by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, is funded through the Environmental Protection Fund.

Meanwhile, the city Parks Department will start work this fall on a long-delayed project to create a playground for adults in Astoria. Plans were originally announced in 2013 for the park space beneath the Triborough Bridge, located at Hoyt Avenue North, but the start was postponed while the site was used as a staging area for work on the bridge above.

“The reconstruction of Triborough (Playground Lot) A includes new pavements, drainage, fencing, benches, ping-pong tables, the addition of two volleyball courts, adult exercise equipment, and painted exercise games,” Parks spokeswoman Meghan Lalor said. “This space is designed and geared towards adults. The project was funded with $825,000 from the City Council and mayor.”

She said work should be completed by spring 2017. It will be near a $1 million dog run planned for Triborough Bridge Playground C, a winning project in last year’s Participatory Budgeting round.

“The coming upgrades at Triborough Playground Lot A will greatly improve the currently inaccessible space,” City Councilman Costa Constantinides (D-Astoria) said. “The improvements will provide a valuable leisure place for our older children and families. The ping-pong tables and exercise equipment will be a welcome asset to our community. I look forward to seeing the construction project implemented and having this location become an active part of our parks system.”

Reach reporter Bill Parry by e-mail at bparr[email protected]local.com or by phone at (718) 260–4538.