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Sunnyside Gardens Park to Undergo Makeover

Sunnyside Gardens Park will undergo a major revamp next month as long-awaited plans to replace the basketball courts, to put down new grass and to fix the drainage system are scheduled to begin in January.

The process will take two years to complete and is going to be broken down into two phases. For 2010, the goal will be to replace the drainage and water pipes, which are more than 80 years old.

“There is only so much patchwork you can do,” said Ciaran Staunton, a leading member of Sunnyside Gardens Park, referring to the drainage problems. “Last year, we spent $10,000 on repairs.”

The project will cost more than $400,000. The large sum has been raised by levying $100 special-assessments on members; holding fundraisers, such as the Memorial Day and Oktoberfest fairs; and receiving aid from companies, such as Con Edison.  

Assemblywoman Margaret Markey, Christine Quinn (Speaker of NYC) and Congressman Joseph Crowley have also provided aid.

Membership, which is available to anyone interested in paying, provides access to the 3-acre park that was created in 1926 and is open 364 days of the year. There are about 320 members, with a membership typically covering a family.

As part of the first year goal, members aim to replace two basketball courts, re-sod the soil (where baseball, soccer and kid’s Gaelic football is played) and put in place an exercise/bike track.

The second year, the plan is to create new swings and slides (and sandboxes) for toddlers. Furthermore, members are planning to create a climbing area for children between the ages of 7 and 9 years.

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