April 22, 2018 By Tara Law
A long-awaited reconstruction project that will merge Travers Park with Staunton Field and the 78th Street Plaza is symbolically underway after a groundbreaking ceremony Friday.
Construction began in March and is slated to be completed in 2019. The project will remove curbs separating the three areas to create a cohesive open space that will merge seamlessly with the neighborhood.
The completed renovation will feature a “great lawn” along 34th Avenue which will be surrounded by flowering trees, benches and game tables.
Different areas of the parks will receive a variety of upgrades. The play area in the park will be expanded and gain new equipment intended for all ages. An asphalt field that can accommodate sports such as kickball, tennis and hopscotch will be installed at Staunton Field, and a new performance space with stadium seating will be installed at the center of the plaza.
As Travers Park is a popular source of recreation in the neighborhood, the construction will be rolled out in stages to avoid closing the park. Renovated areas of the park will become open as they are completed.
Queens officials, including Queens Borough Parks Commissioner Dorothy Lewandowski joined Queens Borough President Melinda Katz, Council Member Danny Dromm and State Senator Jose Peralta, at Travers Park on Friday for a ceremonial groundbreaking.
The design process for the project began in Feb. 2014 and was completed a year behind schedule in Nov. 2016. A parks spokesperson said at the time that construction was slated to begin in fall 2017.
The reconstruction was funded by a $3.6 million allocated by Council Member Dromm, $2.5 million from Mayor de Blasio, and an additional $1 million from Queens Borough President Katz.
Parks Commissioner Mitchell J. Silver thanked the community for their patience as they awaited the start of construction.
“The best of our city’s parks integrate with the adjacent communities, without boundaries, flowing from park to street to neighborhood, just as pedestrians do,” Silver said. “The new Travers Park will be a more open and welcoming space for everyone, providing space for play, sports, and relaxation.”
The project is separate from the $2 million Travers Park Tot Lot renovation, which is scheduled to begin this fall and to be completed in 2019. The upgraded play area, which is set aside for children ages two to five, will feature new play equipment, new greenery and additional seating.