Bellerose Playground & Reading Garden Updates

The Bellerose Playground is closed. The contractor for the Schools Construction Authority was back at the Playground yesterday. Today the playground gates are padlocked and there are two portable toilets near the comfort station. Some children were inside the playground; they entered through the handball court entrance through which you can still access the play equipment area and multi-purpose play area (MPPA aka schoolyard).

Last October NYC Dept. of Parks & Recreation took back jurisdiction over the playground, which was closed for reconstruction, from the School Construction Authority, after insisting that the new spray feature be fixed (cracked concrete, overflowing water) by the contractor. Parks told us that it was to be fixed last April, in time for summer use of the spray feature by children. Bottom line, children couldn’t use the spray feature this summer, apparently because the contractor couldn’t do the work until receiving a permit from Parks. Parks claimed the permit was issued, but then said it would not be issued until after Labor Day.

We have asked Justin Argo, the Parks Dept. Administrative Park and Recreation Manager for park facilities in Community Board 13Q, to get us info on how long the playground will be closed. He had originally been told that during construction the schoolyard will remain open (students were there today) as well as the handball courts and one of the “adventure” units in the play area.

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As to the state-funded Reading Garden to be built on the 249 St. side of the playground, the bidding process was to have been started last January and be completed by now. Parks’ Project Tracker (https://www.nycgovparks.org/planning-and-building/capital-project-tracker/project/9446) still indicates that the procurement process has not yet even started (Queens Parks Commissioner Dockett told us in February the delay was due to Covid) and we have been unable to get a current update from anyone.