College Point residents can now enjoy a newly renovated park following an extensive $5.4 million renovation project that restored waterfront access for visitors.
Elected officials and representatives from NYC Parks and Community Board 7 unveiled improvements to MacNeil Park on Oct. 24. The project reconstructed over a quarter of a mile of the esplanade to give visitors a new shoreline walkway,
The park also features a stronger concrete retaining wall, an aluminum sea rail, a fishing overlook, and a kayak launch.
Borough President Melinda Katz allocated $2.3 million for the project, while Councilman Paul Vallone and Mayor de Blasio provided $1.7 million and $1.3 million, respectively.
“The revitalized MacNeil Park Esplanade will provide the College Point community and visitors with an accessible waterfront park and green oasis,” said NYC Parks Queens Borough Commissioner Michael Dockett. “We are grateful to Mayor de Blasio, Borough President Katz, and Council Member Vallone for their support and commitment to preserving this incredible recreational asset.”
In addition to the $5.4 million renovation, Parks is also working on a separated project to reconstruct the existing concrete stairs and construct new granite stairs at the jetty. This project will feature the installation of new benches at the new granite stairs to provide new space to sit and relax.
“In northeast Queens, our waterfronts have always been an important part of daily life and the overall character of our great neighborhoods,” said Vallone. “With the dream of a vibrant MacNeil Park with waterfront accessibility now realized, I know that these great new amenities will be enjoyed by local families and park visitors for generations to come.”
In 1930, the city acquired the land where MacNeil Park is currently located. Prior to that time, there had been a failed plan to open an Episcopal seminary on the 134-acre land. In 1839, St. Paul’s College — for which College Point is named — opened but closed approximately 10 years later.
When Parks acquired the land, the agency put in a new playground, football field, roller skating rink, baseball diamond and picnic grounds. Back then, residents knew the waterfront property as Chisholm Park and College Point Shore Front Park.
“The long-awaited restoration of the MacNeil Park Esplanade project truly illustrates all of the natural beauty Queens has to offer,” said Assemblyman Daniel Rosenthal. “Now College Point residents of all ages will be able to take advantage of this open-air amenity that helps make our borough unique.”
“The repairs to the MacNeil Park esplanade have restored access to the park’s waterfront and have made MacNeil Park an even more enjoyable place to visit for the families of College Point and all of Queens,” added Katz. “The funds allocated for these repairs are an important investment in College Point and in our Queens waterfront.”