After over a year of construction at Juniper Valley Park, the track and field will be ready for the public to use by this weekend.
The $5.25 million project reconstructed the running track and synthetic turf field and put in an adult fitness area. Construction started in April of 2021 and had planned to be completed in April of 2022, but with various delays, the project was just completed this month, according to the NYC Parks website.
Councilman Robert Holden, who was president of the Juniper Valley Park Association for 25 years, was happy to announce the news Tuesday, Nov. 22.
“After 18 months of being closed, I am happy to finally see the Juniper Valley Park Track and Field reopen to the public,” said Holden. “The city must do more to ensure that parks projects are done timelier and that we use all the available technology to investigate possible issues that may arise during them. I will work with the Parks Department to ensure that future projects are done sooner.”
The project was put on hold in August of 2021 after inspections during construction showed that segments of the storm drainage system needed to be replaced.
“The contractor is hard at work behind the scenes obtaining permits to address unforeseen drainage infrastructure issues,” said Megan Moriarty, a press officer for the Parks Department, earlier this year.
Holden has criticized the Parks Department for “botching” every single project at Juniper Valley Park.
“There is technology available that could avoid delays like this, but Parks does not do their homework before bidding the projects out and I’m sick of it,” Holden said. “Problems like this drive up the cost and the amount of time. Sometimes a park or a section of a park is closed for months or longer, denying residents the use of it. I’m hopeful that it will get better under the new commissioner. As usual, getting something done with the city is no walk in the park.”
The cost of the project did increase.
Gary Giordano, the district manager of Community Board 5, previously told QNS said that though the Parks Department does great work, this is not the first time drainage issues have come up during a capital parks project.
“They do a good job when it comes to reconstructing areas of the park as far as play equipment and proper safety surfacing,” Giordano said. “But, when it comes to drainage and water issues, I see that as their weak point. This is not the first recent park project where drainage was a problem.”