March 13, By Hannah Wulkan
A local parks group was recognized with an award for its service to the community this week.
The Astoria Parks Alliance was given the Golden Trowel Award by the Partnership for Parks on Wednesday night, recognizing the commitment of the volunteers to improving the park and its service to the borough of Queens.
“It’s a wonderful acknowledgement for the volunteers who make a lot of sacrifices in their lives to work to improve the park,” said APA chair Martha Lopez-Gilpin. “The award is really an acknowledgement of how iconic Astoria Park is, and that it is truly a city park that brings people together.”
The APA was founded in 2007 by a group of volunteers looking to clean up and improve Astoria Park, and has worked as an advocate on issues of safety, ecology, park usage, and sanitation over the years.
“I am proud that Partnership for Parks has recognized the Astoria Park Alliance for all their hard work,” said Councilman Costa Constantinides, who presented the APA with the award on Wednesday.
“For years, the APA has advocated for the needs of Astoria Park, the jewel of our neighborhood. Its members have worked for better amenities, environmental upgrades, accessibility, and safety improvements both inside the park itself and for the surrounding community. They have been great role models of civic engagement and community cooperation.”
The APA was recognized for holding bimonthly park cleanups from April through November in 2016, as well as hosting events and beautifying the park. It hosted events in conjunction with the Department of Transportation that shut down Shore Boulevard and allowed community access to the waterfront, among many other programs throughout the year.
Gilpin said that the group has big plans for the year ahead. The group will continue to work with the City in planning the $30 million upgrade to the park, which came about as part of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Anchor Park program.
In the near future, the group is planning a huge Earth Day celebration on April 22 which will again shut down Shore Boulevard to traffic, and will include a park and shore cleanup, planting projects, and activities for adults and children, such as birdhouse making and relay races.
The APA was acknowledged alongside six other groups on Wednesday, four of which received Golden Trowel Awards for their specific borough, and two of which received other awards.