By Franco Fino
The Parks Department has begun an extensive pathway reconstruction project in Forest Park.
On Tuesday, Queens Parks Commissioner Dorothy Lewandowski, accompanied by various community leaders, announced a project that will involve realignment and reconstruction of existing asphalt park paths, reconstruction of a small tee-ball field, and a reduction of erosion that is due to the damaging effects of flooding.
“We recognize that in this general area we have had a lot of problems with drainage and erosion,” said Lewandowski. “Funding [from New York City Council and Queens Borough President Melinda Katz] will allow us to correct that and put in new pathways.”
Councilwoman Karen Koslowitz (D-Forest Hills), who has allocated $1.35 million to the park’s reconstruction, will directly fund the project. Katz has provided an additional $550,000.
“It’s a pleasure that every time I do the budget, there are two things that I always take care of, and that is parks and schools,” said Koslowitz. “They are very important to me because the people that I represent use [the park].”
As of press time, there is roughly $7 million being invested into improvements of Forest Park, which has been provided by Councilmembers Eric Ulrich (R-Ozone Park), Elizabeth Crowley (D-Middle Village), and Koslowitz.
According to Katz, the funding for the project was allocated about two years ago. “For the [New York City Department of Parks], that’s kind of quick,” she said jokingly.
Lewandowski said be there will two initial phases of reconstruction in which it will focus on two sections of Forest Park. The area of the park located along Park Lane known as the “Overlook” will be renovated in the first phase of construction. The second phase of construction will include the tee-ball field and the pathways surrounding it.
She said the reason the reconstruction will occur in two phases is largely due to the tremendous amount of people that occupy the park. Since the park is so heavily used in the summer, reconstruction and development of the tee-ball field will begin after the summer when there are less people populating the park.
The project, contracted to J. Pizzirusso Landscaping Corp., will be completed around late spring or early summer in 2016.