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Most Sunnyside Residents Unaware of Park Redesign Process

Thomas P. Noonan Playground (Photo: QueensPost)

Sept. 23, 2011 By Liz Peterson

In June, Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer announced that he was able to secure $600,000 for the rehab and possible redesign of a section of Thomas P. Noonan Playground.

Residents who want a say on how the rehab/redesign will take shape should reach out to Van Bramer and other local officials immediately.  While public input is welcome, residents shouldn’t expect progress reports to appear in the mail or any other formal notification about the ongoing plans. The process will be handled just as it was for Lou Lodati Park (Skillman Ave and 43rd Street):  in relative obscurity.

Apparently, the plans for the renovations of Lou Lodati Park were presented at several Community Board 2 meetings, where they were received positively, according to a Van Bramer staff member in an e-mail. The plans were drawn up with input from the City Parks Department, CB2, residents who offered suggestions, and the Sunnyside United Dog Society, which had been pushing for a dog run for several years.

The current system is “absolutely” a good one, said Joe Conley, chairman of Community Board 2. “It doesn’t mean everyone will be satisfied,” but it gives everyone the opportunity to be heard.

Conley said the Community Board typically lets the public know when plans for park improvements are on the agenda by placing notices in all the local newspapers and sending e-mail blasts to local groups.

However, the dates that the CB2 meetings took place pertaining to the redesign signs were not listed. For instance, while the Sunnyside Post and Woodside Herald listed the Community Board 2 meeting dates, they did not specifically give advance notice that the redesign would be discussed.

Even the calendar on the Community Board 2 website did not say with specificity when the meetings concerning the Lou Lodati redesign would occur.

Additionally, residents were not notified as to the planning & design meeting (aka “scope meeting”). That is the time that the Parks staff, the designer, elected officials, residents and community board residents share their ideas about the park and its future.

“It’s always a problem letting people know about the process,” said Joe Block, an outreach coordinator for Partnerships for Parks, at a recent United 40s civic meeting in Woodside. He said that the Parks Department recognizes that it needs to do more outreach and launched a program last week called to increase resident outreach. “It’s not as though we are trying to do this in secret.”

The Lou Lodati Park redesign was approved by CB2 earlier this year, at the same time it was presented for comment and review. According to Conley, any good suggestions that come up during these types of meetings will be given due consideration – allegedly, the plan is not set in stone at that point, and input, comments and discussion are welcomed.

Thomas P. Noonan Playground

Van Bramer’s initial goal with Thomas P. Noonan Playground was to repair the rainbow sprinkler system and choppy ground around it. However, those plans have expanded.

According to Van Bramer’s representative, he has already received emailed suggestions.  Residents who want to weigh in on the process should call his office at 718-383-9566, or e-mail him at [email protected] ,  otherwise they could be left out.

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The rainbow sprinkler has nothing to do with supporting gay marriage. It’s been up for at least 14 years (my son is 15 and it went up shortly after he was born). It colorful…that’s it! Stop trying to make it into something its not.

Grass and greenspace

I dont understand why either of these two parks dont have any grass. Whats’ with all this concrete that keeps going down. Greenspace=grass. Not concrete courts. I thought everyone wanted greenspace. Why did this not happen.

45th and Skillman

It’s great that the city is putting resources into renovating the parks, but if they moved even a fraction of what they’re proposing to spend into MAINTAINING the existing parks everyone’s experience would be much better.

That particular park is filthy. I’ve seen broken glass on the jungle gym there within the past year.


I like this park but it gets a little spooky after it gets dark. Kids should be home at this point, not shooting baskets. I’m sure that there is homework that needs to be done.

But I love seeing throngs of children running around during the daytime- I hope these kids all stick around and grow up to be loyal residents of our multicultural community- the best of Sunnyside! The library across the street offers the perfect balance.


You are providing a great service to the people of Sunnyside with items like this – thank you for maintaining this blog!

“It’s not as though we are trying to do this in secret.”…ha ha ha.


What a clever idea the rainbow sprinkler is … Every park should have one, and a safe ground underneath for running and enjoying.

I played in this park as a young child, so longggggg ago and it was always a good place to be ..


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