From Astoria Park to the Rockaways - people come from all round to enjoy outdoor park spaces across Queens.
“It's just a great thing for the families,” said Queens Borough President Melinda Katz. “They barbecue, they play soccer, they play baseball.”
But Katz says many parks in Queens are in desperate need of repair. So, her office is earmarking $32 million for dozens of park improvement projects across the borough.
“They need to be renovated, and we need to have great equipment for our children to play on, and basketball courts and skate parks,” Katz said.
The money is included in Katz's 2016 fiscal year budget, and the total is higher than the three previous years combined. Katz said the ideas for where the funding should go came primarily from constituents who reached out to her office.
Improvements are set to take place across the borough. Some of the largest funding allocations include $2 million to renovate the asphalt field at World's Fair Playground in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, $1.5 million to upgrade the running track and athletic court at Baisley Pond Park in Jamaica, $1.3 million for improvements at Rachel Carson Playground in Flushing and $1.4 million for Sandpiper Playground in Rockaway Beach.
The largest chunk of the money - almost 10 percent - is coming to Flushing Meadows-Corona Park to pay for preservation work at the New York State Pavilion.
“It's an icon that's so important to the borough of Queens,” Katz said.
Salmaan Khan agreed. He's the co-founder of People for the Pavilion, a non-profit working to raise awareness about the 50-year-old structure. He said improvements, including a $3 million paint job already underway, help draw attention to the pavilion.
“It kind of keeps the structure on people's minds, and it shows that this thing is moving forward and not standing still,” Khan said.
The additional $3 million from Katz’s allocation will go toward electrical improvements and renovations, with the goal of reopening the space to the public.
“There's no reason that we can't be having concerts right there at [Flushing Meadows-Corona] Park in this beautiful amphitheater,” Katz said.
“What it was built for originally was to be kind of a multi-purpose, multi-cultural space, and I think that's really what we should be looking to,” Khan said.
It will be up to the Parks Department to set a timeframe for the work to take place.