Rockaway playground opens after $8 million extreme makeover by NYC Parks

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Queens Borough President Donovan Richards (center) helps cut the ribbon on an $8.1 million reconstruction of an Arverne playground. (Photo courtesy of NYC Parks/Daniel Avila)

Elected officials and Arverne community leaders cut the ribbon on an $8.1 million total reconstruction of Almeda Playground at Beach 66th Street on Tuesday, May 12.

As part of the Community Parks Initiative, the public space has been completely renovated with upgraded features and amenities funded by Mayor Bill de Blasio.

The playground now features a more inclusive play area, an outdoor classroom, spray showers, an adult fitness area, basketball and handball courts, shaded seating areas and more. As requested by the community, the project also enhanced the playground’s greenery with a robust planting palette.

“Almeda Playground is a treasured community resource in Arverne, so I’m pleased that this extensive and much-needed reconstruction of the playground has been completed,” said Queens Borough President Donovan Richards, who grew up in the nearby Ocean Village apartments. “All children deserve access to first-class play space, and the Community Parks Initiative has succeeded in creating such a space here at Almeda Playground and at so many other parks throughout the borough and the city. I thank Mayor de Blasio and NYC Parks, led by Commissioner Silver, for putting high-quality open space where they can safely play, gather and enjoy the outdoors.”

Elected officials pointed to the importance of the renovation, especially after children and seniors have spent more than a year pent up indoors.

“The coronavirus pandemic has underscored the need for access to fresh air and recreational resources,” Councilwoman Selvena Brooks-Powers said. “As a mom myself, I understand firsthand how important it is for us to have a safe space for our children to exert energy, make new friends, all within the immediate community. The renovation of Almeda Playground will offer families a park system for all.”

NYC Parks Commissioner Mitchell Silver helped cut the ribbon at Almeda Playground as he nears the end of his seven-year tenure later in the spring. Under his watch, the agency has invested more than $419 million in the borough’s parks and green spaces. Of the more than 800 capital projects completed under Silver’s administration, 209 are in Queens.

“Since its launch, the Community Parks Initiative has taken transformative steps towards creating a more accessible parks system for all New Yorkers,” Silver said. “As commissioner, I’ve prioritized working to ensure that all New Yorkers have access to quality parks, and it’s outstanding to see these underused spaces transformed into community assets.”