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Photo by Christina Santucci
By Rebecca Henely

Borough President Helen Marshall, East Elmhurst leaders and city Parks Department employees broke ground last Thursday on a renovation of the playground at PS 127.

The new tot park and ballfields will represent the third major face-lift in the playground’s 55 years.

“It’s going to be transformed yet again,” said Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe.

The PS 127 playground, on 25th Avenue between 98th and 100th streets, is operated through both the school and the Parks Department. City Councilwoman Julissa Ferreras (D-East Elmhurst) had allocated $2 million in capital funding for the start of the new renovation.

“I just want to say how excited I am,” Ferreras said. “We can’t have a healthy community if we don’t have great parks.”

The renovations for the park will be done in two phases. The first will include a new baseball field with a handicapped-accessible dugout and better drainage, new coating for the basketball courts, a tot playground, a skate area, new seating, new planting beds and other, more environmentally friendly elements.

The second part of the renovation, which will be paid for by another $1.3 million Ferreras has allocated in capital funding, is still in the design phase. It will improve the existing playground and install a spray shower.

“My students are going to enjoy it,” said PS 127 Principal Evita Sanabria. “My parents are going to enjoy it and I believe my staff will also enjoy it.”

This renovation will be the third for the playground, which was one of 777 acquired and built by legendary city planner Robert Moses as part of a neighborhood playground development program. It received new play equipment and fields in 1984 from then-Mayor Ed Koch, and again 10 years later from Marshall when she was a councilwoman.

Marshall praised Ferreras’ role in the latest renovation.

“She knows this community,” the borough president said. “She’s been welcomed.”

Queens Parks Commissioner Dorothy Lewandowski said the renovations for the park are consistent with efforts to make the city more green.

“I’m looking forward to coming back in a year or so to cut the ribbon on this great park,” she said.

Ferreras said she hoped the next NBA stars and New York Mets players would come from the park and that she planned to do more in her district with the Parks Department.

“This is just the beginning of a wonderful relationship,” she said.

Reach reporter Rebecca Henely by e-mail at rhenely@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4564.

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