An Elmhurst park is finally getting a much-needed facelift.
City officials broke ground on the $1.7 million reconstruction of Veterans Grove Park on Monday morning. Thanks to $1.5 million in funds from Councilman Daniel Dromm and an additional $175,000 from Borough President Melinda Katz to finish the project, the new and improved park is expected to be completed by the end of 2017.
“Sometimes we don’t have the money to do everything, but as you can see here, this is going to be a whole brand new park,” Dromm said.
The park will have many new additions, including new play equipment and swings that are accessible for users of all ages and abilities, according to Queens Parks Commissioner Dorothy Lewandowski. It will also have new steel fencing as an added safety measure for young children.
It will also have amenities like enhanced shading, new drinking fountains for both people and dogs, spray showers and new plantings.
On a hot and muggy Monday morning, Lewandowski said the spray showers would have been helpful.
“Too bad it’s not here today or we could’ve tested it out,” she said.
One of the additions that won’t be visible is new stormwater management infrastructure. Lewandowski said the underground receptacles will capture rainwater so it doesn’t run into the street and overflow the city’s stormwater system.
Dromm said he remembers first seeing the park 30 years ago. His first thought was that it was a great open space right in the middle of Elmhurst.
“I came back recently and I saw that there was no grass and the place had become run down,” Dromm said. “I made it a priority because we see an increasing population here in Elmhurst.”
He said this triangle playground isn’t the only park being renovated. Other parks in the neighborhood are also receiving funding for makeovers.
“This represents a re-commitment on the part of the city and Parks to address all of the new residents coming into the Elmhurst area,” Dromm said. “We are going to take this reinvestment very seriously.”