Sept. 26, 2023 By Czarinna Andres
In a significant move to enhance the green spaces in western Queens, District 26 Council Member Julie Won announced the allocation of $12.55 million in capital funding for the district’s parks, with more than half the funds going to a popular Sunnyside park.
The funding announcement took place at Lou Lodati/Torsney Playground, located at 43rd Street and Skillman Avenue in Sunnyside, on Friday, Sept. 22. Won secured $7.15 million in the 2024 capital budget specifically for the park’s upgrade.
The children’s playground area at Lou Lodati will be undergoing a $6 million revamp, while the popular dog run will be expanded and reconstructed via a $1.15 million injection in funds, Won said.
Meanwhile, at Windmuller Park, located at 39th Drive and 52nd Street in Woodside, the children’s swimming pool will be undergoing a $3.4 million upgrade. Queensbridge Park Playground, located on Vernon Boulevard by the Queensboro Bridge in Long Island City, is set to get $2 million that is being allocated to repair and address a problematic sinkhole issue.
During the announcement, Won was accompanied by members of the Sunnyside United Dog Society (SUDS). Formed in 2001, SUDS consists of a group of Sunnyside canine owners who are regular patrons of the park. Their relentless advocacy led to the creation of the park’s dog run in 2013, which, after 10 years in service, is in need of a revamp.
“This fiscal year, our focus was on ensuring our community has access to contemporary green spaces,” Won said in a statement. “Through persistent community advocacy, our office has successfully secured the funding required for vital improvements in three pivotal parks of our district.”
Rick Duro, a Sunnyside resident and the leader of SUDS, highlighted the group’s commitment to Lou Lodati Park and how it’s maintained the park/dog run but can do little about its wear and tear.
“While our community has been actively involved in maintaining the dog run and the surrounding garden, certain challenges like surface cracking are beyond our control,” Duro mentioned.