By Bill Parry
The city Parks Department released renderings of the new $3 million Queensbridge Park House that will replace the original that has been out of use for decades.
Construction on the new 15,500-square-foot field house will begin this fall. When it is completed in 12 to 18 months, it will feature a community room and office area for Parks staff, a public restroom, storage space for the department’s maintenance equipment, and additional storage space for athletic teams which compete on nearby baseball, football and soccer fields.
The Park House will be surrounded by an outdoor plaza area complete with seating, bicycle racks and drinking fountains.
The project was funded with a $2.5 million allocation from the City Council and an additional $1 million from Mayor Bill de Blasio. The 20-acre park along the East River waterfront, right beneath the Queensboro Bridge, sits across Vernon Boulevard from the Queensbridge Houses, the nation’s largest public housing development.
Since taking office, City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Sunnyside) has secured nearly $6 million for Queensbridge Park, which included $3.4 million to fix the once-crumbling seawall along with a 6-foot-wide promenade, benches, plantings and a small wharf.
“One of my top priorities since taking office has been to improve Queensbridge Park for the seniors, families, and children of Queensbridge and western Queens that use this park to enjoy nature, play team sports and take in the breathtaking views,” Van Bramer said. “As part of this effort, I’m proud to have secured nearly $3 million in funding for the complete renovation of the Queensbridge Park House that will bring amazing new amenities to all who use this park.”
Meanwhile, the Parks Department said the plans are underway on the $14.25 million project makeover for the New York State Pavilion, the structure designed by Philip Johnson for the 1964 World’s Fair in Flushing Meadow Corona Park, which has not seen significant investment since. The scope of the project includes structural conservation work on the three observation towers, waterproofing of the tower bases, improvements to the electrical infrastructure and architectural lighting of the observation towers and the Tent of Tomorrow.
Construction is expected to begin next spring and be completed by fall 2019. Funding was allocated for the design and structural work with $7 million coming from the mayor, $6.45 million from Borough President Melinda Katz and nearly $1 million from the City Council.
“Within my first weeks at Borough Hall, I made a promise to Queens: We will save this architectural marvel,” Katz said. “The restoration of this national treasure into a visible icon befitting the World’s Borough will be a boon for Queens tourism, and for generations of families and visitors to enjoy.”
Reach reporter Bill Parry by e-mail at bparr