Parents and other parkgoers were invited to a recent visioning session, hosted by Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley and the NYC Parks Department, to express what they would like to see at the new-and-improved Rosemary’s Playground.
Members from the Friends of Rosemary’s Playground group, the Ridgewood Property Owners and Civic Association (RPOCA), Community Board 5 (CB 5), and residents joined together to come up with ideas for their playground.
Some of the features requested by those in attendance include a new, closed-in toddler play area to keep them separate from the older kids; a play area for older kids with more challenging equipment such as a rock climbing wall or a rope climbing activity; a new water feature; a picnic area for people to have lunch at the park; more trees; and the removal of the elevated flower beds to give the playground more open space.
Although changes will be made, two aspects of the park will remain: the mosaic wall and the comfort station.
“I am blown away that this happened, and that it happened so quickly,” said Stephanie Sauer, co-founder of Friends of Rosemary’s Playground. “I think the playground really deserves it and I’m happy they got the money together. It will give the kids of the neighborhood somewhere to go when it gets nice out. It would be nice to have a little oasis in the concrete jungle.”
Together, Crowley and Borough President Melinda Katz dedicated $3.2 million — $500,000 from Crowley, and $2.7 million from Katz — to redesign the park.
“When Ridgewood residents came to me almost two years ago, looking for a solution for their park, I knew immediately that something had to be done. So we found the funding and put a long-term plan in motion for really sustainable results,” Crowley said. “These park upgrades will completely revitalize a beloved park in the neighborhood, a place that so many families depend on every day.”
“Rosemary’s Playground is a key component of our borough’s park system enjoyed by children from all across Ridgewood and nearby neighborhoods,” Katz added. “These upgrades will help ensure that the playground is available as a first-class children’s play space for years and years to come.”
Now, the Parks Department will take the community’s suggestion and create a preliminary design concept which will be presented to the community in the fall.
Once final designs are agreed upon by the community and Parks Department, construction is expected to begin in 2019, followed by a yearlong construction period.
“I was thrilled to join Council member Crowley and so many impassioned community members at the scoping meeting to hear their vision for the future of Rosemary’s Playground,” said Dorothy Lewandowski, Queens Parks Commissioner. “Our next step is to draft a new design for the park that will open the space and provide updated amenities for all ages.”