It had been over two decades since Bowne Playground next to PS 20 on Sanford Avenue had seen any improvements. Last Thursday, the Parks Department and Councilman Peter Koo cut a ribbon to mark the completion of a $5.8 million renovation project.
The project was part of the Community Parks Initiative, a program to improve smaller parks across the city that have not seen renovations for at last 20 years.
The initiative, which was actually launched in Bowne Playground in 2014, will invest a total of $318 million to improve 67 parks across the five boroughs.
“This park has not seen any improvements for over two decades,” said Parks Commissioner Mitchell Silver. “People need parks not just for physical health, but mental health as well.”
Improvements include new play equipment, spray shower, basketball and handball courts, more seating and decorative landscaping.
The Department of Environmental Protection also partnered with the Parks Department on green infrastructure throughout the playground to divert nearly 850 gallons per year of stormwater runoff from the sewer system.
The playground honors state senator and New York City mayor Walter Bowne, who lived from 1770 to 1846. His summer residence once stood on this property until March 1925, when a fire destroyed the home. The playground opened in November 1950.
Every year, the playground hosts the 109th Precinct’s National Night Out Against Crime event, and Koo hosts his annual Autumn Festival there as well. During the ribbon-cutting ceremony, the playground was filled with kids from various summer programs in the neighborhood.
“It proves just how important this park is to the community,” said Koo. “It truly is the heart of Flushing.”