BY JON CRONIN
After more than two years of collaborating with the community over the design, the new $6.8 million Frank Principe Park project in Maspeth has been finalized.
The city’s Parks Department unveiled the final renovation plan for the park last Thursday with Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley (D-Glendale)—who allocated the funds—at the park.
The fields have not undergone significant upgrades since the 1980s and were beset by numerous problems, such as flooding on the fields and a deteriorated track and field loop.
Mike Locascio, the athletic director at St. Stanislaus Kostka Catholic School and a Community Board 5 member, noted at one of the redesign meetings that ball fields have been unusable for several days after it rains, which is possibly due to the sewage system surrounding the site. The last major capital project for the park was completed in 1996—a $3 million upgrade to the playground, tennis and basketball courts.
The city will break ground on the new park this fall and it is expected to be completed by fall 2018. The new park will replace the four grass fields with a synthetic-turf soccer field and bleachers and two new synthetic-turf, multi-use ball fields with accessible dugouts and amenities.
There will also be a new entrance along Maurice Avenue and an improved park entry at the existing comfort station that connects users to existing park amenities. The project will also reconstruct the perimeter fence; add new bleachers, misting stations and water fountains; and upgrade infrastructure for field lighting.
“Over the years, I have heard complaints from countless residents, frustrated with the conditions of their fields,” said Crowley, who hosted several design meetings with field users, seniors and Parks officials. “In 2014, we secured the funding for a total renovation of the fields and now we have the design that will benefit families right here in the community for generations to come.”
The councilwoman held several visioning sessions for the design, during which the community weighed in on what would best benefit local families, athletes and seniors. The Parks Department used these suggestions to produce the final design.
“Frank Principe Park honors a community leader who fought for open space in Maspeth,” said Dorothy Lewandowski, the Parks commissioner for Queens. “We’re proud to continue Frank’s legacy by collaborating with the community on this great design for new soccer and softball fields. We look forward to breaking ground by the end of this year.”
And CB 5 District Manager Gary Giordano said that the park—which is the largest in Maspeth—would greatly benefit the community.
“Once completed, this park will give children and teenagers an excellent athletic field and honor Frank Principe, who did wonderful community work to benefit Maspeth and other communities,” Giordano said.
Reach Jon Cronin at 718-357-7400 x125, firstname.lastname@example.org or @JonathanSCronin.