Soon, kids will be frolicking in a new and improved playground at Cunningham Park.
Local elected officials and community leaders joined New York City Parks Department commissioner Mitchell Silver for a groundbreaking ceremony to mark the start of a $2 million reconstruction project at Redwood Playground in Fresh Meadows.
“The improvements to Redwood Playground will make this site more welcoming, more accessible, and best of all: more fun!” said Silver. “By next summer the kids who come to Cunningham Park will enjoy an updated play area with an expanded spray shower to keep them cool.”
Cunningham Park Lower Playground, also known as Redwood Playground, is a play area primarily for younger children. The city Parks Department will install new spray showers, play equipment, and an accessible ramp to connect the playground with the comfort station.
The plan also includes a welcoming entrance, reduced perimeter fencing as well as upgraded circulation and landscaping. Drainage will be improved, and the existing decorative metal fence art will be preserved, according to the Parks Department.
The project began in July and is expected to be completed by summer 2019, Silver said.
Councilman Barry Grodenchik, chair of the City Council’s Committee on Parks and Recreation, who grew up playing baseball at Cunningham Park, said the upgrade was very much needed.
“This playground was in poor shape for too long, and our children deserve a new, clean, safe space,” said Grodenchik. “I look forward to seeing children and families playing outside, getting exercise and enjoying the updated playground.”
Total funding for the project is $2 million, including allocations of $1.2 million from Borough President Melinda Katz, $500,000 from Grodenchik, and $325,000 from Mayor Bill de Blasio, Silver said.
“Cunningham Park is an amazing place, but it’s amazing because of everyone that works day and night to make sure that we maintain it and keep it in the great fashion that the community deserves,” said Katz.
Marc Haken, president of Friends of Cunningham Park Inc., an organization that is dedicated to improve, preserve and protect the park and its facilities, said that the group looks forward to the new improvements.
“I think over the years we’ve done a pretty damn good job. Our legislators, as long as I have been around, have helped us with our capital projects and granting us monies to buy equipment and other things,” said Haken. “We’re really pleased that this particular project is moving along.”
A second phase of renovations to Redwood Playground is already funded with $4 million from the mayor, to improve nearby sports, repaired fencing and addition of new adult fitness equipment. Design is expected to begin in the spring 2019.