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Mayor allocates $30 million for Astoria Park upgrades

Photo (About.com)

Aug. 18, 2016 By Hannah Wulkan

Mayor Bill de Blasio announced this afternoon that he would be allocating $150 million to five parks throughout the city, with $30 million going to preserving and improving Astoria Park.

De Blasio’s new Anchor Park Initiative, which he announced at St. Mary’s Park in the Bronx, will focus on improving five parks in under served areas.

“New Yorkers deserve to have the greatest parks in the world steps from their homes. That’s why our administration is focused on park equity, which brings fair access to and development of parks across the city,” de Blasio said.

According to the Mayor’s office, the five parks were chosen based on historical under investment, high surrounding population and potential for park development.

Councilman Costa Constantinides has advocated for funds to improve Astoria Park for the last year, and this influx of capital will bring huge improvements for Astoria Park, he said.

The last major renovation to Astoria Park happened in the 1980’s, Constantinides said, and since then, there has been very little money for necessary upkeep, though the park services over 66,000 people within walking distance.

“This is a groundswell for the neighborhood, because this is a park that is used, and the facilities are not keeping up with the use,” Constantinides said.

“There are visitors from all over the world, but even more from our own neighborhood too, and they deserve a park that keeps up with their needs. This will do real things for real peoples lives in our neighborhood.”

Constantinides said that the Parks Department will begin holding community meetings in the fall to start hearing ideas for how the funds should be spent.

Constantinides said he hopes to see the funds go toward improving and maintaining the locker rooms, improving the track area and possibly adding a soccer field in the middle, work towards erosion control on the pathways, and ADA accessibility in the parking lots and pathways, among other improvements.

Chair of the Astoria Parks Alliance Martha Lopez-Gilpin affirmed many of these needs. “Park users can see that we need support of infrastructure,” she said. “The bathrooms, the swimming pool, the dressing rooms, everything needs to be maintained, just like in a house, and the plumbing is a very important part of the house.”

Lopez-Gilpin added that upon hearing about the park funding, “We will be celebrating for sure, but along with celebration will come plans to roll up our sleeves, do the hard work, and plan for the future hard work that will come with making these improvements a reality.”

“We call these sites Anchor Parks because they provide a stabilizing, centering force for the communities they serve by offering larger and more diverse resources than smaller community parks. Now, New Yorkers in all boroughs have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to make their older parks new again,” said Parks Commissioner Mitchell J. Silver.

“Astoria Park offers numerous valuable recreational opportunities for Queens residents and will be even better place to visit thanks to the $30 million in major improvements it will receive under the Anchor Parks program,” Queens Borough President Melinda Katz said.

The other parks receiving $30 million each under the Anchor Parks initiative are Highbridge Park in Manhattan, Betsy Head Park in Brooklyn, Saint Mary’s Park in the Bronx and Freshkills Park on Staten Island.

email the author: news@queenspost.com

41 Comments

Click for Comments 
Kathleen

://www.dnainfo.com/new-york/20160823/ditmars/reopen-astoria-diving-pool-instead-of-turning-it-into-event-space-petition Hundreds have signed the handwritten petition already. Click on “her campaign” in the article to sign the online petitition.

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Goodluck

The end result will be an increase of park goers and festivities. It has it pros and cons. Generally the pros are that it will improve or add more free park facilities and activities for the public. Perhaps, preparing for the proposed trolley that will begin/end in Astoria Park and may one day happen. Only 5 locations were chosen. Which means this will be widely publicized throughout the media and personal social networks. This will increase visitors via cars and trucks which effects traffic patterns and parking throughout the Ditmars area. Thus quality of life issues such as noise, pollution, and dirty areas may increase. I live by a newly renovated and publicized park in Astoria in a residential area. The increase in park goers and visitors since the park was renovated amazes me. You have people who because of social media drive out of their way and come to use the newer park facilities. Thus, parking, traffic and noise has increased but still manageable. I can only imagine what the Ditmars/Astoria Park area will be like when this is completed.

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Curtis West

That money is supposed to.going for low income houseing for oppressd victims of people of color. Clear up the area and allow the dispora to assume it’s right full place. Astoria park has been historicaly segregated and exclusionarry to people of color made to feel thraetened and not welcome. As we assume our place and officiate that section 8 houseing this unequity will be a small step of 1000s needed. Constantionion gives us lip service but let’s see the money!

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Anonymous

What good is funding this beautiful park when there will be homeless people moving in soon on 20th Avenue. A big corporation bought all those buildings near shore boulevard and bought all the garages and will be building homes for the homeless. We will not be able to go to our park anymore and we will have to worry about our children and loved ones when they go to the park. LOOK INTO THIS EVERYONE. THIS IS THE BEGINING OF A DOWNFALL FOR ASTORIA… GOOGLE THIS AND YOU WILL SEE WHAT IS HAPPENING. OUR BEAUTIFUL ASTORIA WILL BE WORSE THAN IT IS NOW WITH CRIME.

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jacky

This is not MASPETH, QUEENS! The majority of people living in Astoria are renters nowadays and homeowners hardly have any say or just do not care enough in what goes on in the community. Bravo to the people of Maspeth for taking a stance as a community and trying to let their voices be heard.

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isay

At least the homeless will have somewhere to pee and shower! Stop being so negative and look at the bright side of things!

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newastoria

Nowadays in Astoria, if its not in your backyard (literally) or outside of your front doorstep (literally) hardly anyone cares. These is a much weaker sense of community beyond being a yelp member and posting about some food you ate here. It is very diverse and everyone mostly does their own thing. Yea people complain left and right but not enough people show up at meetings or protest something to make any difference!

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Chris Podvin

Hopefully this means that the previously approved ice rink project, will now finally be set in motion. We also need more cops patrolling the park and nearby streets 24/7. Lastly, the bathrooms. They need one more set, and insulated pipes for year-round use. Maybe free advertising, for free toilet paper, could be worked out with Marcal or another local company?

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Jack

Need to modernize this park. everything is ancient. Need more child friendly facilities. need to hire someone with vision to really plan this out correctly. If you spend all that money on plumbing and locker rooms, its a waste.

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Kathleen/Astoria

Restore the Historic Olympic diving pool used in the 1936, 52 and 64 trials. All thise seleked at the trial swept the Olympic Games fir synchronized diving, spring board diving i Berlin, Helsinki and Tokyo on both male and female tesms. This year in Rio only one silver on the male team. Only 3 diving pools remain in NYC after dozens were closed sacrificeing the diving pools to avoud maintaining the duving boards and maintenance as wekl as laying off dozens of life fuards. Mayor Koch suggested closing Central Park which was neglected and crime riden to build housing and the uproar created the Central Park Conservancy. Astioans need to pool together to restore the diving pool. No one knows how to dive anymore. The crime of the century.

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Kathleen

The crime of the century is that this is an aquatic theater for diving, swimming, and was used by Americans from all iver the USA to tryout and practice for the Olympics as wekl as have water ballet, synchronized diving, water polo, which most of my family and friends went to daily as we did not have summer homes or private pools and everyone I grew uo with learned to dive and swim there. 3 generations of children missed out on Leaning the skill to dive because the city cut budgets on the working class neighborhoods getting rid of a popular life saving sport closing most if the city’s diving pools which kept the youth off the streets and fit. Google Astoria diving pool photos and you’ll be blown awat.

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Kathleen

A lifeguard who worked there said there were more incidents in the regular pool than diving pool as it was one on one and very controlled. Theres danger in horseback riding, skating, surfing, waterparks, fear monger is what politicians do to sway public opinion. Rather than cut thier own salaries targeting the diving pools which were so popular for generations of children frim working class or poorer communities was easy to fearmonger. But when people hear the ampitheater idea, especially thise who use the pool, rheir face droops, talk about restoring the diving pool and they light up which is why hundreds signed a petition to save and restore the historic diving pool.

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Anonymous

get all the niggers spics and muslims out first THEN improve the park !!! this is like buying a leash without owning a dog !!! stupid moves !!! waste of time and money !!! get rid of the REAL garbage first then spend the money to bring in the quality people !!!

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Rude Old Lady

Trash humans like you should be ashamed of yourself. Get bent and move to the Deep South where your racist ass belongs, free up some room for the rest of us who love the diverse community of Astoria that’s been present for so many decades.

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Curtis West

Hey you racist white cracker Listen to the other whites who know better and stfu. You are an savage animal. It’s our park anyway now you fool. Buy a dog you dummy and eat up. You are the REAL gabrage ???

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Jay

Why not actually build a community center for the people without mothers and fathers. People lives with their aunts , uncles, guardians. Some people aren’t as privileged as some of you may be. This is NYC, nonetheless Queens. People like you don’t put he time into things. Money is a big factor in that needs to be spent wisely. Rich people think they know what is right for the people of Astoria. Have they grown up here? Shame on you for thinking minorities doesn’t have a chance. Most businesses is filled with Caucasian people and quite frankly the only person I have seen put a change to that is Jay Z, by employing mostly minorities at the Barclay center. How come the higher paying jobs are for the select few that can afford the rent out here. Have you guys attempted to live in the other side of Astoria? One thing I must admit since all the development has been made is that the neighborhood has gotten more safe than it use to be ten years ago. Stop being on your phones and social media lives and get out there to give these people hopes and not just jobs as cashiers and laboreres. Mr. Anonymous you don’t have to hide show yourself and move out of nyc. Are you afraid of what people think of your views or are you a twelve year old begging for attention?

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Ziv Damary

I wonder if this is an apology for the WESTWAY. Remember de Blasio did that on his own and Costa C. hates it. He’ll never get my vote regardless of this Astoria Park smoke screen. Never forget WESTWAY and the downfall of Astoria.

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freny

Westway is in East Elmhurst. This is in preparation for the future trolley between Astoria, Queens, and Red Hook, Brooklyn. I am sure this streetcar is in the future.

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Carole

This article brought back great memories for me. I live in Florida now, but living in the LIC & Astoria as a kid Astoria pool was the place to go in the summer. Also back in the 70s they ran a great pre-school in the locker rooms I took my Son to. He also learned to ride his first two wheeler on its paths. Glad they are going to maintain it.

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Miamilove

Trust me you are probably better off with living in Florida and your memories of Astoria. The Ditmars area is now overpriced and full of trash.

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Rosemarie Mangini

You’re kidding!

The Seniors of Astoria could use a Social Security increase so they can pay the high rents in Astoria or maybe pay for medications.

The mayor and his cronies and I believe you all gave yourselves raises on our backs. Sickening, really a disgrace.
We don’t need $30 million dollars worth of renovations in that park.

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Gianperli Romo

What good is a social security increase if your neighborhood is underfunded??

Maybe you should move to Florida 🙂

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Roland of Astoria

Actually, we do. Many of us use the park and see the deficiencies on a daily basis. This pay-off to make necessary repairs is overdue. Your criticisms are completely misdirected.

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Anonymous

Right there with you. They should just do something with the rotted pool that has been in dire repair for decades.
These people will never see my vote again. I want to see exactly how that money is being spent as they line their pockets! How many bike lanes do we need? Totally disgusted!

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Chris Cardone

Thank you! I love that park. Cleaning the park more often and maintaing the grass needs some consideration.

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Costa Constantinides

$30 million is just about enough money to turn the parking lot into a hacky sack area and to expand all walking paths so that there’s room for bike lanes.

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Anonymous

Costa what is going on with the homeless apartments that will be built on shore boulevard. $30 million is not worth anything when we wont be able to walk and go to our beautiful Astoria Park. Why isn’t anyone mentioning this and being kept quiet. Does anyone know about this??? Look into this everyone. You think Westway is bad. Wait until they are all hanging out in Astoria Park that will be funded with the 30 mil

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Curtis West

Typical racist comment. “Homeless” is code word for people o f color and African diaspora. That you don’t want to live on Astoria park but is coming. Section 8 and dhs will go along way in restoring change. Time is for a historic change not lip service. It’s not”our” as in yours white only park. It’s our park get over yourselfs. Show us our money now!!!

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Curtis West

Westway is fine and servics the community inneed. “Homeless” is the new N Word used by racist code speak. The section 8 and dhs will place the African displaced dispora I.to astoria park on shore which is right fully ours now anyways. So don’t try and spread the hated fear of the new faces in Astoria park . Get use to it. And show us our money now!

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