State Assemblyman Ron Kim and Bland House residents in Flushing celebrated the completion of the newly restored Bland playground and basketball court Tuesday with a ribbon-cutting ceremony.
Kim was joined by members of the Bland Residents Association, representatives of fellow elected officials, and a representative from NYCHA, congratulating the local residents on the new and greatly enhanced community space.
“Today marks a momentous occasion for Flushing. The Bland playground and basketball court are two popular and highly frequented local community spaces in our neighborhood, but after years of decline and neglect they were in need of serious repairs and improvement,” Kim said.
Kim had nominated and secured $750,000 in funding for the project through the Dormitory Authority of the State of New York (DASNY) to ensure major structural restorations to the two locations. After several lengthy stages of work and planning, he says, the endeavor has finally been realized.
“Community spaces such as these represent essential public goods that benefit all New Yorkers, and my colleagues and I will do all that we can to support the preservation and expansion of such vital spaces,” Kim said.
Migdalia Vargas, president of the Bland Residents Association, said they’re overjoyed that the Bland playground and basketball court renovations are finally complete.
“The members of the Bland Residents Association have long advocated and called for greater community investment in these and other shared public spaces, and we are thankful to Assembly member Kim for his dedication and successful efforts to revitalize these two locations,” Vargas said. “After years of disregard, the restoration of these places represents a landmark achievement, and we hope that will bring many more hours of fun and enjoyment for all of the children in our community.”
Bland House resident Tamara Hill, who has been living in the community for 13 years, was delighted to see the children playing in the basketball court and playground.
“We needed a new park and I love it now. This is so nice and it’s beautiful,” Hill said. “We’re so grateful. Our teenage children can keep out of trouble. They love the basketball court. I love the activity bars on the playground; the children can climb and they’re exercising their bodies. They have learning tools and there are more benches as well. The energy level is different now, and it’s not just here for us, but also open to everyone in Flushing.”
With the completion of the playground, Bland House residents are now working with Kim to acquire funding for the development of a community center, which was shut down years ago. They would like to utilize the space to conduct meetings and activities, Hill said.
Congresswoman Grace Meng and Senator John Liu congratulated Kim on his efforts of bringing the project to fruition.
“The completion of a construction project to do much-needed repairs and renovations cements the importance this recreational spot has in the hearts of local residents, and is a great example of the community and state government working together,” Liu said.
Meng said “the renovations will ensure that the community spaces can be used for many years to come.”