FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 6, 2012
MAYOR BLOOMBERG OPENS ROCKAWAY PARK AFTER $30 MILLION RENOVATION AS PART OF PLANYC
Rockaway Park is One of Eight Regional Parks Being Transformed Under Historic Long-Term Sustainability Initiative
Park Renovation Also Part of Waterfront Vision and Enhancement Strategy Action Agenda
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe today cut the ribbon on the redevelopment of Rockaway Park in Queens, one of the eight regional parks being transformed under PlaNYC, the City’s long-term plan for a greener, greater New York. The regional parks address the need for open space and more recreational facilities for a growing population. The work at Rockaway Park included the construction of more than $30 million in new amenities, including a 15,700-square-foot skateboard park, handball and basketball courts, playgrounds, climbing wall, performance space, water play area, synthetic turf field, and accessible comfort station. The Mayor was also joined at the ribbon-cutting by Assembly Member Phil Goldfeder and Council Member James Sanders.
“One of the central commitments of PlaNYC – our long-term agenda for a greener, greater New York – has been to transform eight sites around the City into regional destination parks,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “The completion of Rockaway Park marks another big step forward in keeping our commitment to sustainability and improving our City’s quality of life by investing in the green spaces of the future.”
“Rockaway Beach has been an iconic recreational destination for more than a century,” said Commissioner Benepe. “Now, thanks to Mayor Bloomberg and PlaNYC, the Far Rockaway neighborhood has new parks, playgrounds and athletic facilities that make it like a mini Jones Beach for the 21st Century.”
Located along a mile-long stretch of beach at the eastern end of the Rockaway peninsula, this PlaNYC initiative presented the opportunity to make the most of the beachfront setting to provide much needed park facilities for the rapidly growing residential community.
In keeping with Mayor Bloomberg’s vision for a greener New York, the redeveloped park was designed with permeable surfaces to improve storm water collection, and natural habitats and coastal dunes have been protected and enhanced. In the East Park, a large parking lot has been transformed into a rolling lawn for passive recreation and viewing events at a new performance venue. Adding to our MillionTreesNYC total, the project also included extensive tree plantings to provide shaded park areas.
The project site is 27 acres in size, and approximately one mile long and borders the boardwalk and open beach between Beach 9th Street and Beach 32nd Street. The western portion of the site between Beach 32nd and Beach 26th Streets was undeveloped and covered 10.3 acres of flat sandy areas with sparse vegetation and some secondary dunes and pines, as well as an abandoned asphalt parking lot of 2.5 acres. The eastern portion of the site between Beach 17th Street and Beach 9th Street was dominated by an underutilized 500-space parking lot of 3.6 acres and a concrete paved picnic area, handball and basketball courts. A baseball field is located at the corner of Beach 17th Street and Seagirt Blvd and will remain. A 7,000-square-foot single story building near Beach 17th Street houses toilets, lifeguards and maintenance operations. A concession formerly operated out of this building but has been closed for over six years. At Beach 9th Street is a children's playground and 400-square-foot comfort station.
Other regional parks being developed as part of PlaNYC include the High Bridge and Fort Washington Park in Manhattan; Calvert Vaux Park in Brooklyn; the Ocean Breeze Indoor Track and Field Facility on Staten Island; and Highland Park in Queens. The City recently cut the ribbon on the $50 million McCarren Pool and Play Center in Brooklyn which has already drawn over 86,000 people, and in June we broke ground on the Soundview Park project in the Bronx.
This initiative is part of the Waterfront Vision and Enhancement Strategy (WAVES), a citywide strategy launched by Mayor Bloomberg and Speaker Quinn, which lays out a sustainable blueprint for the City’s more than 500 miles of shoreline. WAVES has two core components: Vision 2020: The New York City Comprehensive Waterfront Plan, released a year ago, which established long-term goals for the next decade and beyond, and the New York City Waterfront Action Agenda, which set forth priority initiatives to be implemented by the end of 2013, many of which are being realized. Together, the initiatives provide a blueprint for the City’s waterfront and waterways, and focus on the following categories: open space and recreation, the working waterfront, housing and economic development, natural habitats, climate change adaptation and waterborne transportation.
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