By Naeisha Rose
Over a decade ago, Brookville Park was thought of as a place where a gruesome attack occurred. The last decade, however, has seen it become a place of community pride with the help of the volunteer park organization Friends of Brookville Park, which is led by President Kangela Moore.
The park is between the neighborhoods of Rosedale and Brookville on South Conduit Avenue and 149th Avenue, between 232nd and 235th streets. It was the site of a notorious rape in 2000, but under the leadership of Moore and with the care of a 40-person-strong volunteer group, the 90-acre park has been transformed into a family-friendly communal space, according to Moore.
By linking up with community partners such as Partnerships for Parks, St. Mary’s Hospital for Children, New York Coalition of Transportation Safety, NYPD School Safety Division, Fire Engine Company 314 and area officials, it is now a place where members of the southeast Queens community spend their free time.
In March, the volunteer group received the Trowel Award for its decade-long service as the source of family engagement and community events at the fifth-annual “It’s My Park” reception, held by Partnerships for Parks.
On July 28, there will be arts-and-crafts lessons on how to crochet. On Aug. 11, between 10 a.m. to 12 p.m, there will be an education reading session for families where the first 20 children to arrive will receive a free book. In the fall on Oct, 20, from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. it will host an It’s My Park Day fair, and in the past the group used the park clean-up event to give away 1,000 car seats and donate helmets and bike locks, while providing bike safety seminars. Its inaugural Friends Giving event is scheduled from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. Nov. 21. Dec. 1 will mark its ninth annual tree lighting from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
On June 30, Friends of Brookville Park hosted a volunteer awards ceremony to celebrate the men and women who have helped to beautify and renovate the park.
They also received proclamations from Councilman Donovan Richards (D-Far Rockaway) and state Sen. Leroy Comrie (D-St. Albans) for the park’s 10th year anniversary, and the volunteers received proclamations from both Richards and Assemblywoman Alicia Hyndman (D-Springfield Gardens).
The event held at Brookville Park included performances by singers Lady G, Tiniqua Jones and dance performances by Jules Performing Arts, as well as music from DJ Todd.
“We are going to give back to our volunteers,” said Moore. “They are the backbone of all of our events, especially our tree lightings.”
After taking 501c3 courses at a six-week seminar at the Rockaway Development and Revitalization, funded by City Councilman Donovan Richards (D-Far Rockaway), Moore will soon learn if Friends of Brookville Park will officially become a non-profit.
“People want to see something that is bigger than themselves that will bring the community together,” said Moore. “People want to give back to the community for its betterment and create a safe haven.”
Reach reporter Naeisha Rose by e-mail at nrose