NYC Parks cuts ribbon on new sports, children’s play areas at Woodside public space

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Woodside community leaders take part in a ribbon-cutting ceremony at General Hart Playground after a $3.5 million reconstruction project. (Courtesy of NYC Parks/Daniel Avila)

The city officially opened General Hart Playground in Woodside after completing a $3.5 million reconstruction project, the first upgrades for the nearly one-acre public open space in a quarter of a century.

The project reconstructed the children’s play area with brand-new equipment, swings and a spray shower.

The revitalized community space now has pathways and benches, and the sports area includes new full and half-sized basketball courts, a volleyball court, a drinking fountain and enhanced landscaping.

“General Hart Playground is a vitally important community resource for the residents of Woodside, so I’m very pleased that it now offers the use of these high-quality and exciting play and sports areas,” Queens Borough President Donovan Richards said. “Queens residents deserve access to first-class recreational space, and this reconstruction of the play and sports area at General Hart Playground has succeeded in bringing such space to Woodside. It was a great privilege to be a part of making this project a reality.”

The project was funded with $1.82 million from Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer and $1.38 million from former Borough President Melinda Katz.

“I’ve funded major renovations in nearly every single park in my district. Hart Playground has not been renovated in decades and was much in need of a top-to-bottom renovations,” Van Bramer said. “I’m proud to have allocated nearly $2 million for this $3.5 million project. Every park user deserves to have amenities they can be excited to use. The beautiful renovations were made with the input of community members, and I’m pleased to see those suggestions manifested in the final project.”

The playground is named for Brigadier General Joseph T. Hart of Elmhurst who commanded the 165th Infantry in the Battle of Okinawa in the South Pacific during World War II. After the war, he returned to a job in the Queens borough president’s office where he had worked two decades earlier. Both Van Bramer and Richards are currently running for borough president in the primary election on June 22.

General Hart Playground was opened in the mid-50s by Robert Moses as part of the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway construction project. It is the only public space for residents of mid-size apartment houses in that section of Woodside.

“With these new upgrades, General Hart Playground is now better equipped to meet Woodside’s recreational needs,” NYC Parks Queens Borough Commissioner Michael Dockett said. “I’m thrilled to unveil these new amenities that will serve the children, families and residents of the surrounding communities for years to come.”

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