Residents, Parks Department employees and community board members gathered at the Overlook near 80th Road and Park Lane to celebrate the renovation effort.
The project will align, reconstruct and correct pathways that have deteriorated over years of use and weathering, as well as add bioswales, permeable pavers and plant beds. The pathways connect park users to the Overlook and Sobelsohn Playground.
Queens Parks Commissioner Dorothy Lewandaowski, said that Forest Park has been the recipient of incremental improvements that are slowly making great progress to update the heavily used park.
“In the center here in this location is a spot, when during heavy rains, we would have bad erosion to the paths and that would impact the little league fields,” Lewandowski said. “The new curbing will capture the water and redirect it into beautiful rain gardens so the rain will percolate into the ground rather than eroding the landscape.”
Phase one of the project - the renovation of the pathways - will be completed by the spring of next year.
Melinda Katz, the Borough President and a mother, said she frequents Forest Park with her children.
“Forest Park is an amazing jewel in central Queens,” said Katz, who requents the park with her kids. “It is a park were many different neighborhoods and communities come to play with their children.”
Councilwoman Karen Koslowitz said she places special importance on two causes when she negotiates budgets: schools and parks.
“The reconstruction will enable the community to come and enjoy this park, which they do now, but even more so,” she said. “It has to be maintained. To have a park you have to keep maintaining it.”
Including this project, Forest Park, the third largest park in Queens, is undergoing about $7 million in improvements.
Lewandowski said this area of Forest Park also serves as a path for commuters using nearby public transportation. She said members of the community were consulted in the planning phase of this project.
“Their response has been very positive,” she said.