Having planted the seeds for a flourishing Parks Department, Estelle Cooper, assistant commissioner of the Queens Department of Parks and Recreation and Flushing Meadows-Corona Park administrator, has resigned.
Under Cooper’s 18-year tenure, Flushing Meadows-Corona Park transformed. She advocated for the installation of a set of synthetic soccer fields, the construction of the Aquatic Center and the new Al Oerter Recreation Center.
According to the Parks Department, Cooper also expanded the United States Tennis Association as well as surveyed the construction of the New York Met’s new home, Citi Field.
“The parks have seen significant upgrades [because of Cooper]. They’re greener and more sustainable,” said Steven Stites, a source close to Cooper. “I don’t think you’ll find a person who’ll speak ill about her.”
According to Stites, Estelle plans to begin a new career as a partner in a political communications firm.
“We all wish Estelle the best as she embarks on her new endeavors,” said a Parks Department spokesperson.
In the interim, as the Parks Department searches for a successor to Cooper’s legacy, Janice Melnick, administrator for Northeast Queens Parks, will oversee Flushing Meadows-Corona Park.
Editor’s Note: See next week’s Queens Courier for a look at the future of Queens parks.