FOR BREAKING NEWS VISIT WWW.QNS.COM APRIL 12, 2018 • THE QUEENS COURIER 11
Board 2 unanimously approves turning Sunnyside site into public park again
BY ANGELA MATUA
firstname.lastname@example.org / @angelamatua
Sunnyside residents rejoiced aft er
Community Board 2 voted unanimously
on Th ursday night to recommend
approval of the Parks Department’s plan
to acquire private property in Woodside
and transform it into a public park.
Th e site at 50-02 39th Ave. was previously
used as an outdoor nursery and
playground, one of the few Depressionera
play areas left in the city. Th e property
was sold in 2007 aft er it became a
part of the Sunnyside Gardens Historic
Last month, Councilman Jimmy Van
Bramer announced that he had secured
$3 million to purchase the land and turn
it into public parkland. But fi rst, the site
must go through a Uniform Land Use
Review Procedure (ULURP) to rezone it
for public use.
On April 5, Deputy Director of Parkland
and Real Estate, Jose Lopez, came before
the board to offi cially announce the city’s
intentions to acquire the 10,000-squarefoot
“Th is is very exciting opportunity for us
and we’re glad that we have a willing seller,”
Lopez said. “Personally, I cannot wait
to get through the ULURP process.”
Th e plan still requires approval from
Queens Borough President Melinda
Katz, City Council and the City Planning
Commission before the Parks Department
can begin the design phase.
Since the site sits within the Sunnyside
Children from the Phipps Garden Apartments in the 1930s play outdoors at a site in Sunnyside that will become public parkland again.
Gardens Historic District, the city will
take “into account the existing aesthetics,”
Th e site, which is fenced off , includes
an outdoor pavilion and several Board
2 members requested that the pavilion
remain. Lopez said the site is too
small for a comfort station but the Parks
Department will look to include play
equipment for children and “passive
space” like benches.
Herbert Reynolds, a member of the
Sunnyside Gardens Preservation Alliance,
said he and other Sunnyside residents
were glad to see this acquisition fi nally
“Since 2009, we’ve worked with over
300 Woodsiders and Sunnysiders and
neighbors from afar to reopen this historic
parkland as a garden park for all public
Photo courtesy of Gerry Perrin/Sunnyside Gardens Preservation Alliance
enjoyment,” he said.
Th e Sunnyside Gardens Preservation
Alliance started a campaign in 2009 to
raise funds to purchase the site and turn
it into a private park.
“We were trying to raise funds but the
idea was to restore this private land to
public use and thankfully this board voted
unanimously to support our endeavor,”
he said. “You strengthened our resolve.”
According to the Sunnyside Gardens
Preservation Alliance, the land for the
site was purchased by the City Housing
Corporation in 1924 when architect
Clarence Stein began to design Sunnyside
Gardens. Several years later, the city sold
the property to developers who created
the Phipps Garden Apartments. Stein was
also the architect for that project.
A number of Sunnyside residents
involved in that process came out to the
meeting to thank the board and ask them
to vote yes on the proposal.
Reynolds said residents “established a
broad and deep consensus for a passive
garden park with walks and benches,
native plants to attract birds and butterfl
ies, that honors the historic buildings
that survive on the lot.”
Th e community fought off a proposal
in 2013 which would have relocated an
all-aluminum, historic home built in 1931
for a New York City exhibition at the site.
In addition, a total of eight apartment
buildings would be constructed around
“We’ll look forward going ahead to
working with the Parks Department to
achieve the park that we’ve been working
for all this time,” Reynolds said.
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