Southeast Queens’ Baisley Pond Park sports facilities received a major $2 million makeover.
New York City Parks Commissioner Mitchell Silver, FAICP, joined Queens Borough President Melinda Katz, Councilwoman Adrienne Adams, and administration and students from P.S. 45Q Tuesday to cut the ribbon on a $2 million capital project to reconstruct sports facilities at Baisley Pond Park.
Through the project, basketball, handball and tennis courts in the park have been refreshed with new surfacing, lights and furnishings, drinking fountains, as well as new seating and tables for spectators.
“Playing sports can help kids learn teamwork, stay healthy and make lifelong friendships — and every community deserves access to high quality courts and fields,” Silver said.
Drainage infrastructure was also improved in the course of the project. The sports courts project was funded with allocations from Katz ($1.5 million) and Adams ($500,000). Construction began in January 2019 and completed on time in July 2019.
Referencing Baisley Pond Park as one of the “jewels of the borough’s park system,” Adams said the transformation of the sports facilities have created a beautiful play space for the families of Queens.
It is important to have recreational spaces that meet the needs of our city. I am proud to help fund this much-needed improvement and look forward to residents enjoying a first-rate park experience,” Adams said.
Katz said the park is an important community asset that will now have first-class recreational spaces where people can be physically active.
“Those who advocated for these upgrades, including Community Board 12, the 149th Street Civic Association and P.S. 45Q, should be commended for their advocacy efforts,” Katz said.
Meanwhile, work is underway on a separate project in Baisley Pond Park to reconstruct the track, convert the natural turk to synthetic turf, and construct an adult fitness area. The city Parks Department is currently in the design phase of this track and field project.
Baisley Pond Park — created in the 18th century when local farmers dammed three streams in order to power their grain mill — borders the neighborhoods of South Jamaica, Rochdale and St. Albans. The 30-acre pond and the park are named for David Baisley, a local farmer who owned the land in the early 19th century and operated the mill located on the pond.
Although the park is used mostly for recreational sports, it remains a vital natural habitat for many species of plant and animal life. Besides its fabled giant lily pads, the pond contains red-eared sliders, snapping turtles, musk turtles and bullfrogs. Eight different varieties of dragonflies and a spectacular array of avian life thrives here as well.
In the winter, Canadian geese, mallards, shovelers, coots, grebes and gulls make their homes here. In the summer, blackbirds, cormorants, herons, egrets, doves, mockingbirds, robins, starlings, warblers, cardinals and sparrows forage and breed in the area.