Tag Archives: Sunnyside

Sunnyside launches borough’s first ‘Bike Friendly Business District’


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer's Office

The bicycle wheels are going round and round in Sunnyside.

On Saturday, the neighborhood became Queens’ first “Bike Friendly Business District.”

A Bike Friendly Business District is a system of businesses, cultural institutions, and community organizations dedicated to boosting safe bicycling, according to Transportation Alternatives.

The advocacy organization has established Bike Friendly Business Districts in the East Village, Lower East Side and along Atlantic Avenue in Downtown Brooklyn.

“The launch of Sunnyside’s very own Bike Friendly Business District is an opportunity for our neighborhood to showcase its diversity as well as its eclectic mix of shops, restaurants and cafes,” said Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer, who helped launch the district with Transportation Alternatives, local business owners, cyclists and pedestrians. “Cyclists should come out to Sunnyside and shop at the over 70 participating businesses. As ridership climbs in our city, and the cycling infrastructure grows here in western Queens, Sunnyside hopes to capitalize by highlighting all we have to offer.”

Over 70 local businesses who support safer conditions for both cyclist and pedestrians will offer special commercial discount to members of Transportation Alternatives.

The business owners are looking to transform Queens Boulevard to include safe spaces for pedestrians, protected lanes for cyclists and dedicate lanes for buses.

“Designating Sunnyside as a Bike Friendly Business District means that we’re committed to making the neighborhood safe, accessible and fun for everyone,” said Rachel Thieme, executive director of the Sunnyside Shines Business Improvement District.

For a map of the Bike Friendly Business District and participating local businesses, click here.

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Sunnyside bar starts monthly book club


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Sinead Curran

One Sunnyside bar is combining a good read with drinks.

Last month, The Courtyard Ale House, located at 40-18 Queens Blvd., began The Courtyard Book Club where bar patrons get together, talk about the previous month’s book pick and then select a new novel.

The group meets in the courtyard of the bar the first Monday of every month at 8 p.m. This month 12 people came together, and for the first meeting 16 people showed up.

“During the day a lot of people come in and are reading a book,” said Sinead Curran, a bartender at the bar. She came up with the idea of the book club after trying to have conversations about books with patrons, but having to shout at times in the bar atmosphere. “We just decided as a group of the regulars to start a book club.”

Curran said any genre of book is welcomed and the group members will take turns every month in choosing a book.

July’s selection was “The Night Circus” by Erin Morgenstern and this month the group selected “The Story of Edgar Sawtelle” by David Wroblewski.

She also said the group provides a “nice social setting” for everyone to sit around and talk about the book and also stick around after for drinks.

“It’s a good way for new people to get to know the neighborhood,” Curran said. “Sunnyside is a community, it’s a very close-knit community. We can all get together, all walks of life and get to know people that you wouldn’t have gotten to know beforehand.”

 

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Health Department to treat areas of Queens against West Nile this week


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of NYC Department of Health

On Wednesday, Aug. 6 there will be West Nile spraying in parts of Queens to help reduce the mosquito population and the risk of the disease.

The spraying will take place between the hours of 8:30 p.m. and 6 a.m. the next morning. In case of bad weather, the application will be delayed until Thursday, Aug. 7 during the same hours.

The following neighborhoods are being treated due to rising West Nile virus activity with high mosquito populations, according to the city’s Health Department:

Parts of Bayside, Douglaston, Hollis Hill, Little Neck and Oakland Gardens (Bordered by Long Island Rail Road Track to the north; 219th Street and Springfield Boulevard to the west; Long Island Expressway to the south and Douglaston Parkway to the east)

Parts of Blissville, Sunnyside and west Maspeth (Bordered by Green Point Avenue and 48th Avenue to the north; Van Dam Street to the west; Newtown Creek (Queens-King County Boundary) to the South; 49th Street, 56th Road, 50th Street, Queens Midtown Expressway and 49th Street to the East

Parts of Kew Gardens, Briarwood and Jamaica (Bordered by Grand Central Parkway and Jackie Robinson Parkway to north; Metropolitan Avenue and 118th Street to the west; Long Island Rail Road and Archer Avenue to the south; 14th Place, Jamaica Avenue, 144th Street, 87th Avenue and 150th Street to the east)

For the application, the Health Department will spray pesticide from trucks and use a very low concentration of Anvil®, 10 + 10, a synthetic pesticide. When properly used, this product poses no significant risks to human health.

The Health Department recommends that people take the following precautions to minimize direct exposure:

  • Whenever possible, stay indoors during spraying. People with asthma or other respiratory conditions  are encouraged to stay inside during spraying since direct exposure could worsen these conditions.
  • Air conditioners may remain on, however, if you wish to reduce the possibility of indoor exposure to pesticides, set the air conditioner vent to the closed position, or choose the re-circulate function.
  •  Remove children’s toys, outdoor equipment, and clothes from outdoor areas during spraying. If  outdoor equipment and toys are exposed to pesticides, wash them with soap and water before using  again.
  • Wash skin and clothing exposed to pesticides with soap and water. Always wash your produce thoroughly with water before cooking or eating.

 

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Sunnyside welcomes first of two public plazas


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo Courtesy of Sunnyside Shines BID

CHRIS BUMBACA

It’s pure bliss in Sunnyside.

Bliss Plaza, the first of two new public plazas constructed in Sunnyside, opened Tuesday. The project was spearheaded by the Sunnyside Shines Business Improvement District (BID).

Last year, the Sunnyside Shines BID submitted an application to the city’s Department of Transportation Plaza Program and with the support of local leaders such as Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer, the application was accepted this April.

“Bliss Plaza is an oasis for pedestrians along busy Queens Boulevard and will be a fantastic place to have an outdoor lunch,” said Rachel Thieme, Sunnyside Shines BID executive director. “This is a huge benefit to neighborhood residents and businesses. We are thrilled with the high quality of work that the NYC Department of Transportation has put into this project and extremely grateful to Councilman Van Bramer and our other partners for supporting our application.”

Bliss Plaza is located at the intersection of 46th Street and Queens Boulevard under the elevated No. 7 train. The plaza has transformed an otherwise useless underpass into a lively and public space. The area includes tables, chairs and decorative planters. The project included leveling out a street to create a one-level pedestrian area and was completed by the DOT in early July.

“I commend the city’s Department of Transportation for all the work it has done to make this new neighborhood plaza a reality and I thank the Sunnyside Shines Business Improvement District for initiating this project and for its commitment to maintaining the plaza and to providing the programming there,” Borough President Melinda Katz said.

The second plaza, the Lowery Plaza at 40th Street and Queens Boulevard, is expected to open this fall. It will also be located under the No. 7 train and will have the same amenities as Bliss Plaza.

“These new public plazas have transformed the space under the 7 train with green space, ample seating and cultural programming,” Van Bramer said. “Tens of thousands pass these spaces every day but with these changes they will use them to meet friends, enjoy their neighborhood and create community.”

 

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Fifth annual music, art street festival coming to Sunnyside


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of Sunnyside Shines

The streets of Sunnyside will be alive with the sound of music and art this summer.

The Sunnyside Shines Business Improvement District will present its fifth annual free street festival called Sunnyside Summer Strolls on Saturday, July 26 and August 2.

Sunnyside Summer Strolls will bring together local businesses, residents and local organizations under the Sunnyside arch at 46th Street, which has been transformed into a temporary public space with tables and chairs, and scheduled activities.

“Sunnyside Summer Strolls is a great community event series, designed to promote our local businesses, bring arts programming to the neighborhood and provide a temporary public space for the day,” said Rachel Thieme, executive director of Sunnyside Shines. “We are excited to partner with Re-Create QNS to bring new energy and arts expertise to the event this year.”

On Saturday, July 26 is the Children’s Arts and Crafts Fair from 1 to 6 p.m., produced in partnership with Re-Create QNS, a new coalition of creative Sunnyside organizations. Activities include face painting, water marbling, ballet, Irish step, modern dance and performances by local musicians. Families will also have the opportunity to meet with artists and teachers of neighborhood arts and enrichment programs.


Photo by Michael Rapp

“Sunnyside is home to so many innovative and passionate arts groups,” said Nancy Kleaver, Re-Create Qns director. “Re-Create QNS wants to spread the word and make more connections between the public and our local cultural institutions. It will be a fun day for kids and families to be creative together.”

Under the elevated No. 7 train, the new Bliss Plaza will host a pop-up library in partnership with the Uni Project, the Sunnyside branch of the Queens Public Library and the Neighborhood Plaza Partnership.

The following Saturday,  from 2 to 7 p.m., will be the Bix Beiderbecke Memorial Jazz Concert featuring a 1920s theme and lineup of jazz musicians and performers including The Sunnyside Wolverines featuring Linda Ipanema, The Sunnyside Social Club, The Pendulum Swings, The Sunnyside Drum Corps, and The Big Apple Lindy Hoppers.

There will also be a dance floor set up in the street, free photo booth and a 1920s costume contest. Local businesses will be on-site offering free giveaways and services.

For more information visit www.sunnysideshines.org.

 

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Apollonia NYC Gallery set to open in Sunnyside


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Angy Altamirano

Sunnyside will soon be home to a new antique shop, also serving as a gallery and cultural event space, looking to showcase emerging, established and local artists.

The Apollonia NYC Gallery, located at 48-14 Skillman Ave. and named after owner Garry O’Calloghan’s late dog, will hold its grand opening on July 20 starting at 4 p.m.

The site is expected to feature handmade and distressed furnishings, lighting, paintings, prints, photos, record collections, antique cameras and other home décor items.

Along with being an antique shop, Apollonia NYC Gallery is expected to also host “salon-like” gatherings for musicians, poetry readings and artist talks through the year.

“I wanted to create a mythological and magical place like the shop in the Gremlins that gives guests the feeling of being in a secret place where they can find one-of-a-kind treasures,” said O’Calloghan, who is also an artist. “This is also a wonderful way to meet interesting people and celebrate the vibrant local arts scene.”

In June, the space held its first preview event for the unofficial afterparty for the annual The Queen of Angels Art Fair, organized by Sunnyside artists.

Apollonia’s grand opening, which according to organizers coincides with the ancient feast day honoring the Greek god Apollo, will feature music by Le Petit Pepinot and The Sunnyside Social Club. Guests are welcome to dress in their favorite vintage clothing.

The opening will also include samples from Murphy’s Lobster Grill, meet-and-greets with Apollonia’s owners, and international and local artists, and the debut of a new mural on the space’s ceiling.

Apollonia NYC Gallery will be opened Tuesday through Friday from 3 to 8 p.m., and weekends from 10:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.

For more information visit www.facebook.com/ApolloniaGallery.

 

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New Astoria craft-focused bar set to open in August


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photos Courtesy of Gerard Leary

Astoria will soon be home to a new bar with a city punch to it.

Sunnyside resident Gerard Leary, owner of the Lower East Side’s One Mile House bar, has come together with two other Manhattan bar owners to open up Judy & Punch at 34-08 30th Ave., a site that used to be home to a video rental store.

When it came to choosing the location, Leary said that he and his partners wanted to become part of the thriving western Queens neighborhood and were surprised to see how much “Astoria loved Astoria and everyone wants to talk about Astoria.”

“It just seemed like the right fit,” said Leary, who is opening the bar together with Barry Spellman, who owns bars DTUT and Biddy’s Pub, and Mike Higgins, co-owner of Professor Thom’s in the East Village. “Astoria has always been a great area and that part of Astoria especially is on the rise.”

Trying not to give much information away, Leary said the approximately 13,000-square-foot bar, slated to open in August, will be craft-focused featuring 14 lines of draft beers as well as libations in bottles and cans, classic cocktails with the bar’s own twist, and small “light” bar bites.

Judy & Punch will also include a 25-foot-long bar, garage doors in the front, dining space and a backyard patio expected to fit about 12 people.


Construction underway at Judy & Punch 

Leary also hopes to organize a lot of events at the bar, getting the neighborhood involved in these events and building the bar’s brand.

The name of the establishment, which Higgins came up with, comes from the traditional puppet show called “Punch and Judy.” This will also lead to a small carnival theme for the bar’s look and menu, said Leary.

“I can’t wait to see what we got in store for these guys,” Leary said. “I think we’re going to have a great product that everyone in Astoria will be proud of. We’re taking what we learned in Manhattan and bringing it to Astoria, without being too pretentious.”

For more information, check out Judy & Punch on Facebook here.

 

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More than 20 free concerts coming to Sunnyside on first day of summer


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo Courtesy of Sunnyside Shines

JANAE HUNTER

The streets of Sunnyside will be the place to be this Saturday, as an array of musicians will play a variety of music genres in front of local businesses.

Sunnyside Shines Business Improvement District (BID), Sunnyside’s Boulevard Bars, and The Skillman Project have signed up several businesses in the area to host free concerts on June 21, as a part of the Make Music New York festival.

The festival, which is the largest outdoor music festival in New York City, features over 1,000 free concerts every year on the first day of summer.

“Neighborhood-wide events like Make Music New York are great for Sunnyside and we are excited to be a part of it this year.” said Liz Taylor, manager of Bliss Street Station on Greenpoint Avenue and, member of the BID and Sunnyside’s Boulevard Bars. “It provides free outdoor entertainment throughout the day and introduces the people who live and work here, as well as those visiting for the weekend, to new and different kinds of music.”

This year, 23 performances are scheduled throughout the neighborhood, including at Bar 43 on 43rd Street, Bliss Street Station, Quiant on Skillman Avenue, and the Queens Library at Sunnyside on Greenpoint Avenue.

“Make Music New York is a great opportunity for the library to utilize our outdoor space to engage the community.” said Joe Schiavone, the manager of the Queens Library at Sunnyside. “We’re very excited to be bringing music to the neighborhood.

For a complete list of performances, times and locations, click here

 

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Sunnyside to celebrate summer with free food and farm festival


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Images Courtesy of Greenmarket GrowNYC

JANAE HUNTER

Sunnyside will start off green this summer.

Queens County Market will come to Sunnyside Greenmarket later this month to celebrate the beginning of the summer season with food and fun.

On June 28, Queens County Market vendors and local restaurants will join GrowNYC‘s Greenmarket farmers at the Sunnyside Greenmarket for “Sunnyside Up!,” a free food and farm festival.

From 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., people will be able to come to Skillman Avenue by 42 and 43 streets and taste different prepared foods and drinks. The event will also include live music and activities such as face painting, balloon art, and “bike blenders,” which are bikes used to power blenders to make homemade smoothies and drinks.

Although the Sunnyside Greenmarket has been operating since 1976, this is the second year that an event like “Sunnyside Up!” has been held.

“This is the first time that prepared food will be offered at the farmer’s market.” said Caroline Hiteshew, Greenmarket’s publicity and volunteer coordinator. “Guests can expect fish and other prepared items from the vendors, and there will also be a crepe station that will be serving both sweet and savory crepes along with iced coffees.”

Other vendors and farmers at the event include Ballards Honey, Breezy Hill Orchards, King Ferry Winery and local restaurant Venturo Osteria serving eggplant crostinis, and a mixed berry and whipped mascarpone dessert.

 

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Sunnyside library to temporarily close


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

The Sunnyside branch of the Queens Library will close at the end of business on Saturday, June 21 to install a new roof.

The library, located at 43-06 Greenpoint Ave., is expected to reopen in mid- August.

A mobile library will provide limited service every Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. during the closure. Readers can also visit near-by branches at 25-01 Jackson Ave. in Court Square, 37-44 21 St. in Long Island City and 54-22 Skillman Ave. in Woodside.

 

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Worker killed in Sunnyside elevator shaft fall


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Updated 4:35 p.m.

A construction worker is dead after falling from the fifth floor of an elevator shaft in Sunnyside Thursday morning, police said.

The victim, a 45 year-old man, was working at the six-story building located at 45-45 42nd Street around 8:15 a.m. when the incident happened, police said.

The new building is reportedly under construction to become a new school.

A second worker, who was also installing new elevators in the building during the time of the incident, was hurt when he fell from the second floor to the first, according to the Department of Buildings (DOB).

Both men were taken to Elmhurst Hospital. The first victim was pronounced dead en route and the second worker, a man in his 30s, who suffered minor injuries, is listed in stable condition, officials said.

A preliminary investigation by the DOB found that before his fatal fall, the worker was wearing a safety harness, but had not connected the harness to a life line when he fell from a platform inside of the elevator shaft to the basement. The second victim was wearing a safety harness and it was secured to a life line.

The building site has been placed under a full stop work order, the DOB said.

 

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Free lunches for kids to be distributed at Queens libraries this summer


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/ Photo by Liam La Guerre

BY PAULINA TAM

Twenty-two Queens Library locations, in partnership with the city’s Department of Education (DOE), will be distributing free summer meals to children and teens 18 years and under starting June 27 to August 29.

Bagged lunches will be served every Monday through Friday between 12:30 p.m. and 1 p.m. and each will generally include a fresh sandwich, fruit, milk and sometimes a salad, according to library spokeswoman Joanne King.

“The library is an open public space and we want to attract people to come to the library,” King said. “While they’re here they can have free access to other programs. The Queens Library also has a very robust summer reading program and we want to encourage people to get involved with that so they can be better prepared for the academic program in the fall.”

There is no application, qualification or ID necessary to receive a free meal. Children and teens are recommended to arrive early to get lunches, while supplies last. The Queens Library is just one of many agencies collaborating with the DOE, and interested parties could call 311 to get a full list of participating locations.

Listed below are the participating Queens Library locations:

312 Beach 54 St., Arverne

14-01 Astoria Blvd., Astoria

117-11 Sutphin Blvd., Baisley Park

218-13 Linden Blvd., Cambria Heights

1637 Central Ave., Far Rockaway

41-17 Main St., Flushing

202-05 Hillside Ave., Hollis

89-11 Merrick Blvd., Jamaica

134-26 225th St., Laurelton

98-30 57th Ave., Lefrak City

37-44 21st St., Long Island City

40-20 Broadway (at Steinway Street), Long Island City

92-24 Rockaway Blvd., Ozone Park

158-21 Jewel Ave., Pomonok (Flushing)

103-34 Lefferts Blvd., Richmond Hill

169-09 137th Ave., Rochdale Village

116-15 Rockaway Beach Blvd., Rockaway Park

204-01 Hollis Ave., South Hollis

108-41 Guy R. Brewer Blvd., South Jamaica

43-06 Greenpoint Ave., Sunnyside

85-41 Forest Pkwy., Woodhaven

54-22 Skillman Ave., Woodside

 

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Rep. King discuses homeland security over JFK Airport Chamber of Commerce breakfast


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/ Photo by Salvatore Licata

SALVATORE LICATA

While JFK may be the “safest airport” in the country, far too many people do not take homeland security seriously enough, U.S. Rep. Peter King told an airport civic group on Wednesday.

King, speaking at a JFK Airport Chamber of Commerce breakfast, said airport workers, including Transportation Security Administration and Port Authority of New York and New Jersey personnel, have been successful in hardening the facility against terrorist attacks.

“This is the safest airport in the United States because of these people,” King said.

But, he added, many people are lax on the issue of security.

“Too many people in the U.S. do not take homeland security seriously enough,” said the 11-year congressman. “It is important that we stay aware.

“New York is the number one target [for terrorists].”

King was introduced by Tom Kelliher, president of the Chamber, as “the leader in the ongoing effort of homeland security,” an important topic to one of the nation’s busiest airports.

Raised in Sunnyside, King is the former chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee and now chairs a subcommittee on counter-terrorism.

He is outspoken on terror and security issues.

“The reality is [some] people in this country have foreign ideology,” he said. “Al-Qaida is adaptive.”

Though the hot topic was the nation’s security, King also discussed the issue of federal funding for Superstorm Sandy victims in New York.

“We had to fight tooth and nail for funding,” he said.

He noted that there had been conflict with insurance companies but the issues have been resolved and the money is now coming through to homeowners and businesses.

“Overall,” he said, “the job is being done and districts are coming back.”

 

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PHOTOS: Taste of Sunnyside


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photos by Michael Rapp

Dozens of restaurants participated in the 2014 Taste of Sunnyside, a food festival to celebrate the neighborhood’s cuisine, culture, and community.

Food lovers from all over New York City were invited to dine out on Queens Boulevard on Tuesday, May 20, between 45th and 46th streets, under the elevated No. 7 train.

The neighborhood, known for its Irish pubs and spirit, is showing the world that while it still honors its past traditions, it’s also become a haven for new talent.

Taste of Sunnyside is hosted by Sunnyside Shines in partnership with Edible Queens. A portion of the ticket proceeds benefit beautification projects in Sunnyside.

 

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Reconstructed Sunnyside park to honor local veterans


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Angy Altamirano

Jim Breuer  and Noreen Haddad were never able to say goodbye to their brother, lay flowers on a casket or visit him in a cemetery. Sunnyside resident Donald C. Breuer was 26 years old when he was killed in action in 1972 during the Vietnam War and his body was never recovered.

Now, after 42 years, Breuer will live on in the neighborhood he called home and in a park he and his siblings visited at a young age.

Breuer’s name, which is on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington D.C., will now become part of a list of veterans from Sunnyside and Woodside that is being engraved on a commemorative plaque at L. CPL Thomas P. Noonan Playground.

“This was our Central Park, this was the park to come and play,” said Jim, who now lives in the Bronx. “It is going to be wonderful to see his name here. I think [our mom] would be very touched.”

The plaque is part of the reconstruction and renovation of the Sunnyside playground, which was named after Lance Corporal Thomas P. Noonan who was also killed in action attempting to rescue members of his company and later awarded the Medal of Honor.

“Noonan Playground is an important community hub for our seniors, families and local children,” Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer said Friday during the official ground breaking of the playground’s reconstruction. “The renovations will make the park safer for children and forever commemorate the sacrifices our local veterans made for this great nation.

Van Bramer allocated $2 million to redesign and expand the local playground as well as have a granite slab added to the base of the park’s flagpole as a monument to Noonan. The city’s Parks Department also received additional funding to renovated the basketball and handball courts.

The renovation of the park, which is expected to be completed in one year, will include the addition of play equipment, a play area for children from 2 to 5 years old and another for children 5 to 12 years old, and a new rainbow spray shower. Additional planted areas are also being created within the playground along Greenpoint Avenue and 43rd Street. Lighting will also be improved, the main entrance will be partially reconstructed and new bike racks, benches, paving and fencing will be installed.

Two years ago Van Bramer launched a Noonan Park Community Design Initiative, which brought in community suggestions from students of nearby P.S. 199 and residents on what they wanted to be done at the park.

“I believe great parks equal great neighborhoods and with the feedback we have received from the community we will rebuild a better playground that everyone can enjoy,” Van Bramer said.

 

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