Councilman Richards and the city Parks Department are looking into potential capital improvements for Brookville Park. Photo Courtesy of NYC Council.
BY TRONE DOWD
Councilman Donovan Richards (D-Laurelton) dropped by Brookville Park on Monday night to discuss potential uses for a $3.5 million allocation that he secured for capital improvements for Rosedale’s premiere green space.
The councilman was joined by the city Parks Department and community leaders. The meeting was called an “on-site visioning meeting” and involved the public officials taking a tour through the park as a way to brainstorm preliminary ideas for the funds.
“Brookville Park is such a beautiful park with so much potential,” Richards told the Press of Southeast Queens. “It is heavily used. In the summer, you see people coming out in great numbers. When I go there to greet people, I sometimes meet people from as far as New Jersey [come] to use the park. It’s a real oasis and we want to ensure that this is the most pristine park in Southeast Queens.”
After Monday’s tour, Richards and the Parks Department were able to pinpoint the needs for revamping Brookville Park’s main entrance, located at Brookville Boulevard and 147th Avenue. Richards also said that beautifying and bringing amenities to the 147th Avenue portion of the park would be a priority this fiscal year.
“There’s no walkable area,” Richards said of the 147th Avenue entrance. “There’s ponding in front of the park. Also, cars use the entrance way as a place to park and it’s dirt-filled. Our children have to walk through that to get access to their field. These are some of the things we’re looking to fix. We want to turn it into a real entrance.”
The tour is not the final step in figuring out the plans for the park.
“It’s very early,” Richards said. “We still want to get community input on how the money is utilized, so we will be back with some more definitive stuff later.”
He said that community idea—such as general aesthetic improvements, dog runs and bettering sports fields—would all be considered while finalizing the next project for Brookville Park.
“We’re not done investing,” Richards said.
In fact, the Fiscal Year 2017 allocation is only the latest movement of funds towards improving Brookville Park. In 2016, Richards’ office secured $87,500 for chess tables and a reading garden. In 2015, $350,000 was set aside for general enhancements and new bleachers near the park’s football field. Prior to that, Richards’ predecessor, Councilman James Sanders Jr., allocated more than $1 million towards making Brookville Park what he referred to as “the treasure of Rosedale.”
“We want to keep this momentum going,” Richards said. “I would love to see a gazebo there, I would love to see the pond dredged, I’d love to see concession stands. It’s a very lively park. Now the question is: How do we bring more life to it, now that it’s utilized so heavily?”
Richards said that he has made a commitment to upgrading Brookville Park.
“In a time when there’s so much stress on families and communities with what’s going on at the federal level, parks are something that unites everyone,” Richards said. “It’s free. Our children and our elders have access to it. It is an important amenity for communities.”