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Sunnyside/Woodside to Get Park Upgrades, Cleanup Crews and a Revamped Spanish Theater

Photo: QueensPost

July 10, 2014 By Christian Murray

Two Woodside parks and Thalia Spanish Theatre are about to receive plenty of city funds–following the 2015 budget that was passed by the city council late last month.

Windmuller Park is going to receive a $500,000 upgrade that will cover the cost of constructing a new skateboard area, as well as fixing up the bandshell that has been damaged by skateboarders performing their stunts there.

Councilman Van Bramer, who allocated the funding, said it has yet to be determined where in the park the skateboard area will be—but views the $500,000 expenditure as a “twofer” since it will benefit skateboarders as well as help preserve the condition of the bandshell.

The Councilman has also allocated $2 million for the complete renovation of Big Bush Park, which is located behind the Big Six Towers in Woodside. He was unable to elaborate on the details of the upgrade, since the Parks Department has yet to put a design together.

These expenditures follow past allocations he has made toward parks in the neighborhood. Lou Lodati Park underwent a $1.4 million overhaul that was completed last June, while Thomas P. Noonan Playground is currently undergoing a $2.2 million upgrade.

As part of the budget, the city council has allocated an additional $5 million to hire 80 additional Park Enforcement Patrol officers across New York City, whose role will be to ensure that the public abides by park rules.

Adrian Bordoni at the bandshell

Van Bramer said that he would make sure this district got its fair share of PEP officers—and said that he would want PEP officers at Windmuller and Doughboy Park among other Sunnyside/Woodside park spaces.

Local residents have often complained that Windmuller Park is a hotspot for rowdy teenagers, and have often called on the 108 Police Precinct to have a much greater presence there.

Meanwhile, Sunnyside Gardens Park, for the first time in years, did not receive any city funds, with the departure of former Council Speaker Christine Quinn. Over the course of the past eight years, Quinn allocated in excess of $130,000 of taxpayer funds to the private park.

This budget season, Van Bramer was able to secure $4.5 million in funding for the renovation and expansion of Thalia Spanish Theatre, which is located at 41-17 Greenpoint Avenue.

Van Bramer said the funding has a number of benefits.

“It is tight quarters in the theater and it has never been refurbished,” Van Bramer said. Furthermore, “the theater is an important anchor for Greenpoint Avenue,” referring to the benefits the upgrade will bring to the commercial area.

Van Bramer said Thalia is the only [bilingual] Hispanic theater in Queens and it is important that it gets a makeover. The funds will be used to help the theater double its capacity from 75 to 150, and is likely to result in the construction of an additional story.

The whole front will be redone that will include a new lobby and new façade.

Meanwhile, the graffiti cleanup program (including the anti-graffiti hotline) that covers the main streets and avenues in Sunnyside (and a portion of Woodside) will continue—stemming from grants to Sunnyside Shines and the Sunnyside Chamber of Commerce.

Furthermore, many Woodside streets will continue to be kept clean through the funding of The Doe Fund, a non-profit group that hires former felons and homeless people to clean the streets, in an effort to help them rebuild their lives.

The Doe Fund will continue to hire workers to maintain the streets along Roosevelt Avenue (from 51st Street to 61st Street), 61st Street (from Roosevelt to 39th Avenue) and Woodside Avenue (from 58th Street to 60th Street), including plazas and the surrounding areas. This will be the third year that Van Bramer has brought the program to Woodside.

Meanwhile, the St. Pats for All parade–that draws thousands of people to Skillman Avenue in March– will receive city funding yet again.

Other budget items of note in Sunnyside/Woodside:

  • More than $200,000 has been allocated toward security upgrades (primarily for the installation of internal/external cameras) at the Sunnyside and Woodside branch libraries
  • Woodside on the Move will be receiving $40,000 for its concert series in Windmuller Park, its tenant/housing project and adult literacy programming.
  • St Pats for All to receive $8,500 in funding ($3,500 from Van Bramer and $5,000 through Councilman Daniel Dromm)
  • United 40s Civic Association (a Sunnyside/Woodside residents advocacy group) to receive $5,000
  • Sunnyside Community Services to receive, among other items, $40,000 for youth services
  • Sunnyside Chamber of Commerce to receive $60,000 for the Sunnyside/Woodside graffiti cleanup program as well as for special events and for its website/publicity
  • Sunnyside Shines: $5,000 for the purchase of new trash receptacles on Queens Blvd/Greenpoint Avenue and $27,500 to support graffiti removal work in the 26th Council District
  • Thalia Spanish Theater programming: $8,500
  • Northern Woodside Coalition, a civic organization that runs youth programs and various events, $3,500
  • Variety Boys & Girls Club of Sunnyside/Woodside $5,000

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29 Comments

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G.OD

You know where to find us. Let’s negotiate but all the skate and youth bullshit. I will make sure no one jumps your ass. We are the same youth you taking about. With all these stereotype on us, saying we are bad and disrespectful. I will tell you the facts!! Just come through.

Reply
43rd & 43rd

People are angry about money allocated to skaters and not to youths . . . who do you think the skaters are? Fiftysomethings?

Reply
Statesman

$40,000 for Community Services, which provides real services to youth and seniors, that’s barely enough for one full time salary.
$60,000 for the Sunnyside Chamber of Commerce to do, what? Does a business organization really need public monies? Do they raise any money on their own? Where does it go, besides Luke Adams pocket? They don’t even have a budget, the new treasurer resigned after a few meetings, and the new treasurer is Luke’s partner (no problem funneling the funds to him now).
What a sham.

Reply
SunnysidePosthatesme16

Skaters, why do you deserve anything? all you do is ride a board with wheels. You don’t deserve shit.

Reply
Skaters

Just give us a skate park yo, there are no skate parks near us and we always have to use public transportation to get to one. We the skaters of eindmuller park deserve a well made unique skate park.

Reply
Mr Oblivious to the Obvious

its as if Jimmy is putting 2 hours of gay pride above the needs of children, COULDN’T POSSIBLY BE!!! Not my Jimmy!!

Reply
SunnysidePosthatesme16

500,000 toward skaters that don’t contribute anything to society while the youth programs get hardly anything. What a scam.

I hope squirts the change bum shits on your ramp and you slip on it

Reply
Skaters

Skaters has been skating windmuller park for at least 12 years and still continues. Spending money on youth program is thoughtful but only when the youths attend it. We don’t want your money, we just want a park where everyone has same equal right to practice what they love.

Reply
Skaters

We are the skaters from windmuller park and we are just psyched about that $500,000 project to build a new skatepark there. Skateboarding keeps us off streets and we are glad you realize that.

Reply
Andrew

I agree, why so much for security upgrades to the library. What ever happened to the so called money for security cameras around sunnyside to reduce the rising crime. If you want to allocate some money for 1 or two external security cameras at each of the libraries would be fine, but 200K is crazy.

Reply
SunnysidePosthatesme16

pennies are being thrown at youth programs, while dogs and skateboarders are getting over 6 figure treatment.

So don’t bitch when the youth graffiti up your stuff…

Reply
The Original Hipsta Thugg

So a parade that lasts 2 hours gets twice the money than those younth programs that will help a child for a liffetime get? Talk about putting your priorities in the wrong order. I previously had a good impression of Van Bramer, no more.

Disgrace.

Reply
Semper Paratus Man

The Participatory Million bucks meeting a waste of time. No one was allowed to make any suggestions.Just city officials telling the process.So much red tape that no point in getting involved.

Reply
Crane

What? $200,000 for library security upgrade? Those two libraries combined do not even have books worth that much, and you want to protect those by spending $200,000?

You really don’t need to spend $200k to protect greasy dvds and cds and smelly books. Spend that towards programs for children in libraries, do you guys have any idea how crowded those kids programs in libraries are? They can’t even cope with the attendance and most of the time it is dangerously crowded.

Reply
confused 2

So this info is from the 2013-2014 budget cycle correct?

The participatory budgeting will replace JVB’s discretionary spending for 2014-2015 right?

Reply
confused

So what is the total amount of allocation here? I thought the participatory budgeting was in place of the Councilmembers’ discretionary spending?

Reply
JOR

Park Enforcement Patrol (PEP) should be immediately assigned to Lodati Park to address the following issues:
– Dogs off leash outside the dog park area that are allowed to run all over the big asphalt area;
– Public urination, alcohol consumption, littering in the volleyball and handball court areas;
– Dogs and people making noise in the park well after midnight;
– Break up the cabal that control the volleyball courts weekend afternoons and leave garbage all over;
– Enforce the no smoking regulation throughout the park.
Can some of the Doe Fund people be assigned to clean up the many minefields of dog feces on the sidewalks and streets near to Lodati Park, especially 43rd Street?
And maybe someone from the Doe Fund is handy with a wrench and can turn off the river of water bubbling from underground in the corner of the playground next to Skillman Avenue and the church. This waste of water has been going on for years and happens when the sprinklers are turned on.

Reply
Mrs. Jane Grissom II

Love the Thalia! Hope they bring back flamenco dancing. No money for Sunnyside Gardens Park? Cry me a river!

Reply

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