By Mark Hallum
The city Department of Parks and Recreation cut the ribbon on a face-lift for Louis Simeone Park in Corona last week.
The $3 million allocated to the community space paid for not only new pavement and exercise equipment, but also drainage infrastructure to intercept stormwater run-off from the streets.
Parks Commissioner Mitchell Silver and City Councilman Francisco Moya (D-Jackson Heights) celebrated the completion of the work, which started in November 2016 and was finished in January.
“The reconstruction of Louis Simeone Park transformed a passive area of the park into a community gathering space that accommodates users of all ages and interests,” Silver said at the June 19 ribbon cutting ceremony. “With input from the neighborhood, we’ve completely reimagined this space and we can’t wait to see everyone enjoy it this summer.”
Mayor Bill de Blasio allocated $2.2 million for the project, which also received funds from Parks Without Borders — a department initiative that works to make greenspaces more welcoming with more aesthetically appealing outer appearances — and from the City Council.
“Louis Simeone Park provides an invaluable place for our community, where parents can make memories with their children and residents can take their pick of the amenities — whether it’s working out or relaxing,” Moya said. “In a city that can be frenetic, green spaces like this are a welcome reminder that sometimes all we need is a place to go, take a breath and unwind.”
A walking path around the edge of the park was added, as well as two new grassy berms. Adult exercise equipment was installed along with a new playground, complete with toddler swings.
On the north, south and west sides of the park, fences were removed as part of the Parks Without Borders initiative to allow the community to take advantage of the space.
The renovations at Louis Simeone Park were carried out under the Community Parks Initiative, launched by de Blasio in October 2014 to set aside $318 million for investment in improving greenspaces in parts of the city most densely populated and with a large number of low-income residents.
Louis Simeone was a community activist in Corona who died in 1984. He attended St. John’s University before starting an accounting and insurance firm in his community. He served with many civic organizations such as the Lions Club, Community Board 4 and Community School Board 24.
Reach reporter Mark Hallum by e-mail at mhall