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Queens leaders celebrate completion of Redwood Playground renovation project in Fresh Meadows

City Councilman Barry Grodenchik cuts the green ribbon at the renovated Redwood Playground in Cunningham Park. (Courtesy of Grodenchik's office)

Councilman Barry Grodenchik, Queens Borough President Donovan Richards and Queens Parks Commissioner Michael Dockett joined community leaders for a ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate the newly renovated Redwood Playground in Cunningham Park on Friday, April 23. 

The $2 million project, on which construction began in the fall of 2018, upgraded the park’s landscaping and playground equipment. Other additions include spray showers, safety areas for younger children and an accessible ramp. Redwood Playground, which is by 193rd Street at Aberdeen Road, is an area primarily for younger children. 

“During the pandemic, we have learned that accessible outdoor space is a critical component of our recovery. New Yorkers of every age need space to play outside, and our city parks serve that function all year long,” Grodenchik said. “The newly renovated Redwood Playground provides a beautiful, safe place for children in Cunningham Park, and I know that many youngsters will enjoy the playground this summer and for years to come.”

Total funding for the upgrade included allocations of $1.2 million from the Queens borough president’s office, $500,000 from the City Council and $325,000 from City Hall.

Redwood Playground’s name is based on an anecdote about Cunningham Park, according to the Parks Department

In 1934, Hillside Park was renamed for W. Arthur Cunningham (1894-1934). Born in Manhattan, Cunningham grew up in Brooklyn, where he attended St. James’s Academy. He earned his L.L.B. degree from Fordham Law School in 1915, but postponed a legal career to serve his country in World War I. Cunningham distinguished himself in combat as a major in the 69th (later 165th) Regiment, American Expeditionary Force.  

After the war, Cunningham served as counsel and later vice president to the Textile Banking Corporation.  Then, in 1933, he was elected city comptroller on Mayor Fiorello H. LaGuardia’s (1882-1947) “Fusion” ticket. But on May 5, 1934, Cunningham died suddenly of a heart attack while horseback riding on Long Island. The horse’s name, it is said, was Redwood. 

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