BY JON CRONIN
To determine what a new Glendale entrance to Forest Park would look like, Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley (D-Glendale) held a visioning session to garner community input on what they would like to see at the entrance.
The entrance in question is located at the corner of Myrtle Avenue and Union Turnpike. The councilwoman said that she was able to allocate $3 million for the project. She noted that last year, during her brainstorming session for participatory budgeting, many residents brought this up as an idea, but it couldn’t be handled under the participatory budgeting’s $1 million purview.
Dottie Lewandowski, Queens Park commissioner, said that currently the entrance is mainly unused. She noted that the Parks Department at one time used it as access to a maintenance department facility, but no longer. Currently, the pathway is blocked by Jersey barriers and is unpaved.
Attendees stated that they would like to see at that entrance what other parts of Forest Park currently have: lighting, a seamless use of a pedestrian walkway and bikeway, a generally safe place for people to take their families. One person also suggested bike rentals, while Crowley noted that instead it could be a location for the City’s popular CitiBike program.
Crowley noted Juniper Valley Park in Middle Village has many playgrounds and wants residents to consider more in Forest Park.
Stephen Fielder, a Community Board 5 member, had the largest vision for the plan. He suggested that the entrance and exit from the Jackie Robinson Parkway be adjusted so that it goes directly onto Myrtle Avenue instead of the longer roadway that it currently has. He would also like to see a sign on the parkway stating that there is an entrance to the park there. Fielder said he would like to see a paved pathway that would go all the way to the parking lot by the golf course. He added that he is aware his plan would be over $3 million.
Toby Sheppard Bloch, also a CB 5 member, stated they could just narrow the lanes coming off the parkway and make it more “challenging” for drivers to come off the exit quickly.
At the end of the meeting, Crowley said it would take two months to find a consultant on the project, 12 months to design it, a nine month procurement process, and 12 months to construct it. She estimated the whole process to take around three years.
In a statement Crowley noted: “Forest Park is one of the biggest, most beautiful parks in all of Queens. The local residents deserve a safe, convenient and accessible entrance to enjoy all the park has to offer. The current entrance in Glendale is unwelcoming to park goers and it’s important we come together as a community to address this, and work with the Parks Department to determine just what we need to make this a beautiful, inviting space.”
Reach Editor Jon Cronin at 718-357-7400 x125, email@example.com, @JonathanSCronin.