Astoria among 20 spots citywide to land new parks funding

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By Dan Sears

The city Parks Department on Tuesday named 20 locations across the five boroughs slated to receive funding through its Community Parks Initiative.

The news came on the heels of a six-year CUNY study that said the initiative’s investment into city parks correlates directly with improved health benefits for anyone living near the revamped park. Hallets Point Playground in Astoria will be the first to solicit community input with a meeting scheduled for Wednesday evening.

“This study demonstrates what we’ve always known: investing in our local parks helps all New Yorkers,” NYC Parks Commissioner Sue Donoghue said in a statement on Tuesday. “Beautiful, well-maintained parks provide spaces for healthy recreation, community building, and connection with nature – so it’s no surprise that, according to these preliminary findings, New Yorkers living near high-quality parks can have a higher quality of life!”

The Parks Department previously invested in 67 other parks since the CPI initiative, launched in the fall of 2014, including Stroud Playground in Brooklyn, Louis Simeone Park in Queens and Arrochar Playground on Staten Island.

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According to the study, CPI investment increased park use among adults — New Yorkers near revamped parks were found to be 66% more likely to have visited the facility than New Yokers living near non-CPI parks. The parks were also more consistently used, the study observed.

“CPI is an unprecedented park renovation and equity initiative on a large scale. Parks are a key feature of the built environment, which in turn is critical to the health and wellbeing of people,” Terry Huang, distinguished professor of public health at CUNY graduate school of public health and health policy said in a statement. “We at CUNY SPH are proud of the collaboration we have with NYC Parks to understand how parks can improve health and wellbeing in New York City.”

Among those set to receive $100 million in funding in 2024 and 2025 are Harding Park in the Bronx, Livonia Park in Brooklyn and East River Playground in Manhattan. New Yorkers living near the locations will have the opportunity to comment on what they would like to see at their local parks at engagement meetings.

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