Noonan Park, nicknamed rainbow park because of its arc-shaped, multicolored play sprinkler, will be getting a facelift. The city Parks Department has not established an exact groundbreaking day; however, the office of Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Sunnyside) said the construction will take place this fall.
The councilman allocated $1.35 million for Phase 1 of the project.
A comment box was set up at the Queens Library in Woodside and students from PS 199 spent a day with the councilman drawing up plans for the future of the park. Students suggested everything from the feasible, such as more play equipment, to the unfeasible, a zip line from the library gliding into the center of the outdoor space.
Last Friday morning a few parents were watching their children monkey around on the equipment, several men were chatting on a set of benches and Michael Louis of the city Parks Department was bringing out balls and hula hoops for the park’s summer Tuesday Through Saturday Playground Associate Program. The park crowd swells for its weekly Friday Movie in the Park event and fills up on the weekends.
“We will dramatically transform and improve this well-utilized and much loved park,” Van Bramer said.
The construction will add a playground for children ages 5 to 12 years old, which will take over a portion of the adult seating area. There will also be an added area for the younger set, ages 2 to 5, at the southwest side of the current playground. The old play equipment will be removed.
The city Parks Department did not return calls about what would be the fate of the old play structure.
One concern raised by parents through public comments was that the playground doesn’t have a fence to keep children from running out into the street.
Phase 1 will remedy that with a gate at the entrances on 47th Avenue and at the corner of Greenpoint Avenue and 43rd Street as well as a fence around the perimeter.
“It could use some updating. A gate around the playground would be nice,” said Sunnyside resident Julie Brandsgaard, who visited Noonan Park with her 15-month-old daughter Tessa on Aug. 3. The Brandsgaard’s apartment doesn’t have an outdoor space and so, Brandsgaard said, they rely on the nearby park for their nature fix.
PS 199 students researched fallen Vietnam hero Thomas Noonan and other Vietnam veterans from Sunnyside and Woodside. A memorial with the names of fallen soldiers from the two neighborhoods will be constructed prominently in the park’s center.
Upgraded drainage in Phase 1 will mitigate flooding, which in the past had overflowed from the park and into the streets. Additionally, Noonan Park will receive more benches, greenery and bike racks. The rainbow fountain will remain, but will be moved slightly.
After Phase 1 wraps up, the $650,000 Phase 2, which was approved by Community Board 2 before its two-month summer break, will conclude next year. This phase’s renovations include redoing the park house and bathroom and upgrading the basketball court. Overall, the renovations will cost $2.025 million.