Last week we received the thrilling news that the Astoria Heights Park playground will receive one million six hundred thousand dollars for capital improvements. This was most directly the result of advocacy on our behalf by our Council Member Costa Constantinides, who is responsible for one million one hundred thousand dollars for overall redesigning and construction work in the playground. And then our Queens Borough President, Melinda Katz, came through for our Park with five hundred thousand dollars, which is funding she intends to provide for a safe and delightful toddler-specific playground area.
Earlier today, Melinda and Costa had scheduled a quick visit to our Park and Lynn, Samira, and I were happy to greet them there. I had a moment to speak with Melinda and I learned that personal experiences with her two young children (if memory serves, they’re currently 3 and 6) motivate her to focus on making playgrounds safer destinations for younger visitors. This resonates with me, having had my share of close calls involving older kids running around my toddler. I have felt very strongly that the reimagining of our playground space should create a space ideal for cruisers, early walkers, and toddlers. Now that not only seems possible but moreover it’s turned out to be an essential baseline design expectation for our new playground. Words like “rejoice” come to mind.
We conveyed our gratitude to Melinda and Costa and reiterated our group’s commitment to do our part to help Astoria Heights Park flourish. We are still at the beginning of this journey, but we clearly have enthusiastic and supportive company to help us navigate.
We’re looking forward to meeting with Costa and our Parks Department friends in the near future to learn more about what exactly happens after money has been allocated. We want to see how Friends of Astoria Heights Park and our community in general can play the most constructive role possible in defining the future of our playground area.
For now, though, this is truly momentous. Our group’s one year anniversary still lies ahead of us, and already there is so much to celebrate.
Photography by Adam W. Cohen.