Dec. 28, 2021 Staff Report
The Hunters Point Parks Conservancy is making an end-of-year push to raise money to help aid its mission to keep Long Island City’s parks clean, vibrant and engaging.
HPPC hopes to raise funds in order to continue its park conservancy efforts into the new year.
The nonprofit is now halfway towards its fundraising goal of $10,000 with just three days left before year end. Donors have contributed more than $5,000 thus far. HPPC is urging more people to donate before its fundraiser closes on Dec. 31.
“Please consider contributing to HPPC so we can further our mission to enhance and advocate for the green spaces and waterfront of Long Island City, Queens, and to ensure the parks remain an indispensable asset to the community,” HPPC President Rob Basch said.
Donations to HPPC will fund programming, pay for equipment used by volunteers, and help the non-profit buy functioning and attractive fixtures for the parks — as part of its quest to keep the green spaces beautiful and inviting in 2022.
“We are so fortunate to have two of the best waterfront parks in the world at our doorstep,” Basch said, referring to Gantry Plaza State Park and Hunter’s Point South Park. “However, they continue to need the enthusiastic help of our volunteers, supporters and sponsors to keep the parks special.”
Thanks to previous donations, Basch said, HPPC was able to have a successful year in 2021. The group hosted numerous events, programs and volunteer days despite the challenges presented by the pandemic.
For instance, HPPC programs this summer drew thousands of Queens residents and visitors after in-person programs were largely forbidden in 2020.
The Summer Kids program was particularly successful. HPPC hosted six weeks of children’s events as part of the program at the two parks, which included magic shows, STEAM- and STEM-building activities, and kids’ music and yoga classes.
These events — which had limited capacity — often filled as soon as they launched. In total, HPPC held 28 children’s events over the summer that more than 600 children participated in.
The sixth annual LIC Waterfront 5k, HPPC’s primary fundraising event, also returned this September after being held virtually in 2020. More than 1,100 people came out to run or walk the course, including 150 kids who participated in the Shibley Day Camp Center Boulevard Kids Dash after the main race.
HPPC also continued its volunteer program in 2021, which is supported by donations. The program has sessions in both Gantry Plaza State Park and Hunter’s Point South Park each week.
Altogether this year, more than 50 volunteer days were held, where 800 individuals came to help remove more than 1,600 bags of invasive weeds from the parks.
HPPC also held a special volunteer event in September to plant 240 more flowers in the medians on 48th Avenue and expand the pollinator meadow that HPPC and the Newton Creek Alliance created in 2020.
Pollinator meadows serve as an important habitat for ecological valuable pollinators, like butterflies, moths, bees and small birds. They also provide important ecosystem services including infiltration and filtration of stormwater, carbon storage and nutrient recycling.
The following month, HPPC hosted its seventh annual LIC Bulbfest. More than 140 people signed up to help plant nearly 16,000 tulip, daffodil and allium bulbs in Gantry Plaza State Park and Hunter’s Point South Park. These bulbs will bloom into beautiful, vibrant flowers throughout the parks this spring.
In addition to hosting volunteers and public programs, HPPC supports LIC parks by purchasing equipment and supplies that the city and state do not provide given their respective budgets.
HPPC, for instance, purchased four picnic tables and eight umbrellas for Gantry Plaza State Park, as well as two Adirondack chairs and hundreds of plants.
The organization also paid for — and planted — four Yoshino cherry trees in the oval at Hunter’s Point South Park to replace trees that had died. The trees will bloom with white and pink blossoms this spring and will provide much-needed shade while also being a source of food for small birds and mammals.
The non-profit is looking to continue its investment in the parks in 2022. It is calling on residents and visitors to donate to HPPC through its website. Those interested can donate by clicking on the following link.