Improvements to Challenge Playground in Little Neck is underway as the NYC Parks Department, northeast Queens elected officials and community leaders broke ground on the site on Thursday, July 5.
NYC Parks Queens Borough Commissioner Michael Dockett joined Queens Borough President Donovan Richards, Senator John Liu, Assemblyman Edward Braunstein, Councilman Barry Grodenchik and Community Board 11 District Manager Joseph Marziliano for the groundbreaking at the playground located at 251st Street and 61st Avenue.
“We’re excited to break ground on renovations that will transform Challenge Playground into a more inclusive and accessible green space,” Dockett said. “Upon completion, Queens residents and visitors can enjoy enhanced play and integral family-friendly space for recreation and outdoor fun. We’re grateful to Borough President Richards and Council member Grodenchik for making this upgrade a priority.”
This project will reconstruct the existing playground with brand-new sensory play equipment, swings and spray showers.
The new design will feature auditory and visual elements that will offer playful shadow effects, sounds and touchable textures. Additional upgrades will include new seating and picnic areas, plantings and repaved pedestrian pathways for easier access to the play area.
Renovations to Challenge Playground were made possible by a $75,000 allocation from Grodenchik and $3 million from former Borough President Melinda Katz, with continued support from Richards.
The project is expected to be completed in spring 2022.
Richards thanked the de Blasio administration and Grodenchik for making the groundbreaking possible.
“This is a great day for the children and families of Little Neck as we break ground on this first-class playground,” Richards said. “Children need to have high-quality places to play in order for them to grow and thrive, and the reconstructed Challenge Playground will be such a space.”
Grodenchik said the improvements to the playground will create an amazing outdoor space where local residents, especially children, will be able to connect, interact and thrive for years to come.
“Playgrounds are critical to the health of a community, so the redesign and reconstruction of Challenge Playground will provide tremendous benefit to the communities of Little Neck and Douglaston,” Grodenchik said.
Children and families are spending more time outdoors, which is great for health and well-being, mentally and physically, according to Liu.
“The Challenge Playground has a special place in our community’s history and it’s long time to rebuild this important public asset,” Liu said. “Thanks to Council member Grodenchik, Queens Borough President Richards and the Parks Department for the strong partnership to get this project started and completed quickly.”