The grand opening of the QueensWay’s first phase could come as soon as 2020.
That’s according to the two groups behind the proposed elevated park that would connect Rego Park and Forest Hills to Ozone Park via the abandoned Rockaway Beach Rail Line, who said in a press release on Monday that their work is progressing at a quick clip.
“The Trust for Public Land and Friends of the QueensWay today finished the schematic design for the first half-mile of the proposed 3.5-mile linear park and trail,” the release reads. “Construction-ready working drawings will be produced over the next year, which will provide the community with additional details on new features of the proposed park.”
The plan has been a controversial one, as a number of community leaders and residents alike have instead called for the rail line’s reactivation, saying it represents the quick ride toward Manhattan that South Queens has been missing for years.
Others, some of whom don’t necessarily support the rail reactivation plan, have brought up safety concerns with the park proposal, referring to the track’s close proximity to homes in Forest Hills.
To quell those worries, Friends of the QueensWay spokeswoman Maggie McKeon said in a Tuesday email that the group is in the process of finalizing a contract for a security consultant.
“They will be tasked to assess the project as a whole and make recommendations for how best to implement safety and security measures into the design and operation of the QueensWay,” McKeon said, “specifically geared towards the safety of park-users and adjacent homes and businesses.”
The group added that phase one — known as the “Metropolitan Hub” running from Metropolitan Avenue south to Union Turnpike — will provide learning gardens and outdoor classrooms for the over 2,000 students in the three schools comprising the Metropolitan Education Campus in Forest Hills.
The first phase was designed by DLANDstudio Architecture.
The Trust for Public Land has acquired more than $2 million to date in private donations and state grants to move the QueensWay project along.