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Queens Chronicle

Parks updates set for 2 Bayside sites

Joe Michaels Mile, Oakland Lake

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Posted: Thursday, November 21, 2013 10:30 am | Updated: 10:38 am, Wed Nov 27, 2013.

Two Parks Department locations in Bayside — the Joe Michaels Mile and Oakland Lake — have been funded for improvements with work expected to begin next year.

A $1.7 million allocation from Borough President Helen Marshall’s Office will provide new pavement and lighting for a portion of the Joe Michaels Mile.

The mile-long path along Little Neck Bay in Crocheron Park was named after the drummer for ‘60s rock band Jay and the Americans, who developed a heart condition and suffered several heart attacks. He was able to turn his life around by becoming a runner, losing a lot of weight and improving his overall health, though he still died young.

Michaels became a marathoner and the first president of the Alley Pond Striders. He died at the age of 45. The pathway was named in his honor in 1988 and is a popular site for runners today.

Also allocated was $1.6 million by the City Council and Marshall’s office to construct a walkway around Oakland Lake. The area floods on a regular basis making it difficult to walk around the 7-10ths of a mile path.

The city has tried numerous remedies, but the area remains wet much of the time. The Parks Department has received a permit from the state Department of Environmental Conservation to proceed with the project.

The city agency is now procuring a contractor and expects work to begin in the spring. The project is anticipated to take a year to complete.

Oakland Lake, part of Alley Pond Park, is a 15,000-year-old spring-fed glacial pond. For almost two decades the city has tried to improve the area. It has cleared invasive species, planted native vegetation and rain gardens to absorb excess moisture, cut down dead trees, removed tons of debris and beautified the park edge facing 56th Street.

The project calls for a raised boardwalk and adding drainage pipes under the path to prevent flooding from water running down the park’s slope.

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