By Bill Parry
An Elmhurst Park dedicated to those lost in battle during World War I has reopened months ahead of schedule after receiving a full $2.3 million makeover from the city Parks Department.
Borough President Melinda Katz joined City Councilman Daniel Dromm (D-Jackson Heights) and Parks officials for a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the newly restored Veterans Grove Playground, featuring an upgraded dog run, new swings, improved steel fencing, a new drinking fountain, bike racks and an interactive sprinkler.
“Veterans Grove Playground is now a crown jewel of Elmhurst, thanks to this multimillion-dollar renovation,” Dromm said. “The $1.5 million I have allocated for the new playground equipment and other infrastructural improvements will ensure that Veterans Grove Playground continues to serve Elmhurst families for generations to come. I am proud to bring even more quality green space to my district, something essential to the health and well-being of any community. Improving our parks and playgrounds will always be a top priority of mine.”
Dromm’s District 25 has the least amount of public space in Queens and the second smallest amount of public space in the city, according to spokesman Michael Mallon.
Veterans Grove, located on Whitney Avenue between Judge and Ketcham streets, across from the St. Bartholomew School, needed to be made more welcoming for the students.
“From the colorful new play area to the dog run, and even extending to the perimeter sidewalk — every inch of Veterans Grove has been upgraded to better serve the needs of this growing community,” Parks Queens Borough Commissioner Dorothy Lewandowski said. “And below the park’s surface, we’ve installed important infrastructure to help aid in stormwater management, making this space both aesthetically pleasing and a working part of the community.”
The water management infrastructure was added to the site to help alleviate soil erosion. Construction began in June 2016 and was completed in March, nearly nine months ahead of schedule.
“Veterans Grove is a playground treasured by the growing families of Elmhurst, and we’re delighted to reopen it today in time for summer,” Katz said. “NYC Parks deserves to be commended for this wonderful multi-million dollar [dollar]renovation, nearly a year ahead of schedule.”
Veterans Grove is dedicated to the memory of those soldiers from Elmhurst who lost their lives serving during World War I and includes a plaque honoring the soldiers. The park was established in 1928 and was last renovated in 1996.
Reach reporter Bill Parry by e-mail at bparr