By Mark Hallum
Woodside’s Big Bush Park got a full-scale renovations with $1.8 million from the city and officials gathered last week to cut the ribbon on the new community space.
Queens Parks Commissioner Dorothy Lewandowski said the project took less than a year to transform the greenspace into a place where the community can stay fit and healthy.
“After a year under construction, Big Bush Park reopened to the public this spring with some much-needed improvements,” Lewandowski said July 17. “An entry plaza along 61st Street now welcomes kids to a brand new play space with a spray shower that’s perfect for hot summer days. Adults will enjoy added greenery, a seating area, and new fitness equipment.”
Big Bush Park most commonly serves residents of Big Six Towers, a co-op at 60-10 Queens Blvd. which houses about 1,000 families.
City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Woodside) represents the neighborhood which will benefit most from the park renovation.
“Big Bush Park is a great place in Woodside to sit outside with family and friends, play sports, and get some fresh air,” Van Bramer said. “I’m thrilled the $1.8 million renovation brings exciting new amenities for the first time in decades. I’m proud that this project will bring new swings and game tables for kids, drinking fountains for all to stay hydrated, and exercise equipment and smoother running surfaces to stay fit. This park is now something that all of Woodside can be proud of.”
The park now has an entry plaza and seating area as well as play areas for children between the ages of 2-5 and 5-12.
A new spray shower area was also installed with adult fitness equipment and the park will now be wheelchair-accessible, according to the city Parks Department.
“With $2 million in upgrades to its playground, adult exercise equipment, game tables and more, Big Bush Park is now a new and improved recreational space for the growing families of Woodside,” Borough President Melinda Katz said. “Designs for this project were in no small part due to input from the engaged community and serve as a perfect example of how residents can have a significant impact in beautifying our neighborhoods.”
Katz allocated about $1 million for the renovation while Van Bramer’s office pitched in $800,000.
Parks said the project was completed with input from the surrounding community and strongly reflects their needs.
Big Bush Park is named for the street it used to be situated on, Bush Street, prior to the construction of the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway, according to Parks spokeswoman Meghan Lalor. She said there was also once a Little Bush Park.
Reach reporter Mark Hallum by e-mail at mhall