Middle Village’s Juniper Valley Park is making the grade.
In a recent report card released by New Yorkers for Parks, the park received an “A,” ranking it among the highest rated parks in the city.
The study focused on the maintenance conditions of parks between 20 and 500 acres.
The Middle Village park scored a 93, making it the second highest ranked within the city. The report attributed the park’s high score to an active group of volunteers that keeps it running and clean.
“Most of the parks in Queens that scored well have very active volunteer groups. That makes a difference,” said Fred Kress, president of the Queens Coalition for Parks and Green Spaces.
“It’s one of the nicer parks in Queens,” said Roy Bilson, a Middle Village resident as he walked his dog. “There is lots to do and it’s very well kept.”
Among the 56-acre park’s features are baseball fields, basketball courts, a dog run, handball courts, track, playground, tennis courts and shuffle board.
“There is always something going on, whether it’s a baseball game, or football or tennis,” said Greg Faines, a Middle Village resident. “The park is very well kept.”
Juniper Valley Park has a varied history that includes a past as a farm, cemetery, garbage dump and source of peat moss – partially decayed vegetable matter. The land where the park now stands was acquired in the early 1930s to settle back taxes from the infamous Arnold Rothstein. After plans of a municipal airport and civic center, the land was developed for a park, opening in the early 1940s.
Most Queens parks surveyed scored well on the report card, securing the second highest average grade – 87 – after Staten Island. Of the 17 Queens parks surveyed all but two – Roy Wilkins Recreation Center and Bayswater Park – received either an “A” or “B.”
New Yorkers for Parks is a citywide independent organization championing quality parks and open spaces for all New Yorkers in all neighborhoods.