Feb. 22, 2018 By Nathaly Pesantez
The city is at last starting up the acquisition process for the former Phipps playground, part of the Sunnyside Gardens Historic District.
The Department of Parks and Recreation is putting forth an application with the city to ultimately turn 50-02 39th Ave., the corner lot at 39th Avenue and 50th Street, into a community park. The site, measuring 10,000 square feet, is currently owned by DBH Associates, a private developer.
The application to the Department of City Planning will be jointly filed with the Department of Citywide Administrative Services for the site selection and acquisition of the parcel of land, a NYC Parks representative said at last night’s CB2 Land Use meeting.
The project must go through public review by way of the Uniform Land Use Review Procedure, where it will be reviewed by the community board, the Queens Borough president, and make its way to the city council, which could take until next year.
Once the application is certified for public review next week, the DCAS can begin to negotiate the purchase of the property with DBH.
Plans to turn the former playground to a city park were announced in late 2016 by Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Sunnyside), who secured $3 million toward acquiring and renovating the site.
The site, purchased by DBH in 2007, saw a highly-unpopular plan in 2013 that included the installation of an aluminaire house and eight accompanying residential units there. The developer, however, was unsuccessful in moving the idea forward after the community board, local officials, and the Landmarks Preservation Commission shot down the project.
The former Phipps Playground, now vacant for about three decades, is one of the last depression-era playgrounds remaining citywide. The playground provided a park to the Phipps Housing Complex, and remnants of the old park, like a shed and swings, are still seen today.
The park, once it receives ULURP approval, will be designed by NYC Parks in conjunction with the community board and local stakeholders.
NYC Parks will return to the full community board in April to present its plans for the site.