2017-08-02 / Features

Ground Broken On Big Bush Park

BY THOMAS COGAN


Ground was broken July 25 on a $1.8 million reconstruction of the playground and spray shower in Woodside’s Big Bush Park. The project will reconstruct the paved areas in the north end of the park to better accommodate both active play and passive recreation. It will also upgrade the park’s play and spray shower equipment, and increase the amount of green and permeable surface area in the park. The work is being funded with a $1 million capital allocation from Queens Borough President Melinda Katz (third from l.) and an $800,000 allocation from City Council Majority Leader Jimmy Van Bramer (third from r.), who both joined NYC Parks Commissioner Mitchell J. Silver (c.) at the groundbreaking. The project is expected to be completed in April 2018. 
Photo Office of the Queens Borough President Ground was broken July 25 on a $1.8 million reconstruction of the playground and spray shower in Woodside’s Big Bush Park. The project will reconstruct the paved areas in the north end of the park to better accommodate both active play and passive recreation. It will also upgrade the park’s play and spray shower equipment, and increase the amount of green and permeable surface area in the park. The work is being funded with a $1 million capital allocation from Queens Borough President Melinda Katz (third from l.) and an $800,000 allocation from City Council Majority Leader Jimmy Van Bramer (third from r.), who both joined NYC Parks Commissioner Mitchell J. Silver (c.) at the groundbreaking. The project is expected to be completed in April 2018. Photo Office of the Queens Borough President The continuing renovation of Woodside’s Big Bush Park was launched with its new and improved playground on July 25. Several civic leaders were in attendance, including NYC Parks Commissioner Mitchell Silver, Borough President Melinda Katz, and NYC Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer and in addition to several Woodside residents, among them a few from the nearby Big Six housing complex. They gathered by the playground’s 61st Street entrance, just south of Queens Boulevard, the groundbreaking in the playground area north of the park’s athletic fields and courts for handball and basketball, was made possible by $1 million in funding from Borough President Katz’ office and $800,000 from City Council Majority Leader Van Bramer, who represents the 26th District, where the park is situated. Katz and Van Bramer spoke alongside Parks Commissioner Silver.

Work on the playground was actually begun in May, and will include new trees, repaving and an updated spray shower. The 61st Street entrance will also be enlarged, to provide a more welcoming opening to the park from the street. The current drainage system will be rebuilt as well. All renovations are expected to be completed in the middle of next spring.

Katz said the groundbreaking pace is swift in many parks all over Queens, and that she has brought her two children to visit several of them.

Van Bramer said it’s a “good day” for Woodside and residents of the Big Six Towers. He said the park “needed a little love” and acknowledged two officers of Community Board 2 in attendance: President Denise Keehan-Smith, a Woodside resident, and District Manager Debra Markell-Kleinert. He said it was unfortunate Queens Parks Commissioner Dorothy Lewandowski was unable to attend, but welcomed Jo Anne Amagrande, Parks Renovations Officer, who represented her.

The park was named after Bush Street, which ran south of where the park now stands and where the Woodside segment of the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway has replaced it.

Parkland for this part of Woodside was proposed as long ago as 1936 by Mayor Fiorello La Guardia. But road building by then-Parks Commissioner Robert Moses took precedence. Long story short, groundbreaking for Big Bush Park did not occur until July 1971, when the local stretch of the BQE had been finished for seven years. Completion of the park took nearly 16 years, but on June 18, 1987 Parks Commissioner Henry Stern opened it and proclaimed it Bush Park. Calling it Big Bush distinguishes it from what is informally known as Little Bush Park, located south of the BQE at Laurel Hill Boulevard and 63rd Street and officially named Nathan Weidenbaum Park. Big Bush is 2.5 acres in size; Weidenbaum, really a playground, is perhaps a little short of an acre.

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