Torsney Playground Begins $1.4 Million Renovation
Queens Parks officials today joined Borough President Helen Marshall, Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer, members of Community Board 2 and the Sunnyside United Dog Society (SUDS) to break ground on $1.4 million in improvements to Torsney Playground.
This project is funded with $700,000 allocated by Queens Borough President Marshall and $700,000 allocated by Council Member Van Bramer. The project will create a formalized dog run, improve the existing asphalt sports courts, and add new plantings throughout the site. The new dog run will be bordered by planting beds and consist of dedicated areas for large and small dogs. Each will contain benches and dog drinking fountains. The dog run was designed in consultation with the Sunnyside United Dog Society. In addition to the dog run, the existing softball, basketball, and volleyball/ecuavolley courts will be resurfaced with new color-sealed pavement to improve both their appearance and their durability. The project is scheduled to be completed by the summer of 2013.
“I’d like to thank Borough President Marshall and Council Member Van Bramer for allocating a combined $1.4 million to make these improvements possible,” said Queens Parks Commissioner Lewandowski. “Soon, Sunnyside residents, whether on two legs or four, will have even more reasons to enjoy this neighborhood gem.”
“Like the man this park is named after, this site is a community resource,” said Borough President Marshall. “With The Combined $1.4 million in funding from the Queens Borough President’s Office and City Councilman Van Bramer, we will build a new dog run, basketball and volleyball courts and a softball field. I also want to thank our Queens Borough Parks Commissioner Dorothy Lewandowski, whose cooperation and support helps to make days like today happen.”
“The renovations currently underway at Torsney Playground will include an eclectic mix of amenities for all residents of Sunnyside,” said Council Member Van Bramer. “By enhancing this park in our neighborhood with something for everyone we are increasing access for all and giving generations of Sunnyside residents a park to be proud of for decades to come. I want to thank the Queens Borough President for partnering with us to fund this multifaceted open space.”
This park’s name honors George F. Torsney (1896-1942), World War I veteran, New York State Assembly Member, and supporter of parks and playgrounds for the Sunnyside area. Torsney was elected to the New York State Assembly in 1932, a position he retained until his death. As an assemblyman, Torsney fought for reapportionment of the state’s districts when Queens’s swift expansion in the 1930’s left the borough inadequately represented. He also served on the New York World’s Fair Commission in 1939 and as the chairman of the Long Island City Civilian Defense Volunteers Office during World War II.
This site includes the Lou Lodati Playground named in 1999 for Lou Lodati (1908-1996), who was known as the “Mayor of Sunnyside” for his dedicated service to the community. He worked for the Woodside Herald, and was a member of the Kiwanis, the Sunnyside Chamber of Commerce, and operated Cassel’s Lounge, where the homeless could receive meals. Lou Lodati Playground was renovated in 2009, and contains play equipment, swings, a comfort station, and a sitting area.