Oct. 4, 2011 By Liz Peterson
Jimmy Van Bramer, this neighborhood’s local councilman, has called on the public to provide input as to how Thomas P. Noonan Playground should be redesigned.
Van Bramer, who held an event at the playground Monday morning, said he had $600,000 to spend on the redesign. However, unlike standard city practice, Van Bramer is actively trying to get feedback from the public as to how it should be upgraded.
To that end, he has put out suggestion boxes. Residents are welcome to submit their suggestions at Sunnyside Library or at Van Bramer’s council office (47-01 Queens Blvd., Suite 205). The boxes will remain open until Oct. 31.
The suggestion boxes were launched with the help of third graders from P.S. 199, who came down to the park Monday morning to draw their ideas for playground improvements and present them to the councilman.
After the month is up, all ideas will be itemized and submitted to the Parks Department for consideration, with recurring ideas highlighted. The Parks Department is responsible for coming up with the plan itself, which will then be presented at Community Board 2 meetings for public review. Van Bramer said the plan is likely to be ready for review in early 2012.
Changes to the playground will include repairing the fence, Van Bramer said. The fence has gaps, so there’s nothing to prevent children from darting out into the street. Once the immediate safety concerns are taken care of, Van Bramer said he’d like to see the rainbow sprinkler get an upgrade, to make it “even more special than it is now.” Green space is also a priority, he said.
Of course the children had their own ideas. Some sought a pool, while others a haunted house—although most ideas were more modest. The kids wanted simple things, like more swings, a seesaw and cleaner bathrooms.
Both Van Bramer and the children agreed that Thomas P. Noonan, for whom the playground is named, should be better memorialized, so people remember the sacrifice Noonan made. Noonan was a Marine who was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for heroism during the Vietnam War. One child suggested a statue, though the budget may not quite allow for something that large.
If the playground redesign grows into a larger, and therefore more expensive, project, Van Bramer said he’d be open to allocating more funding to the project, though that would of course take time.