DITMARS — A neighborhood playground in Queens is slated to get some major improvements soon, including a nod to the area's music-making history.
The Parks Department has a number of upgrades planned for the Paul Raimonda Playground in Astoria, including a new spray shower shaped like a Steinway piano — an ode to the famous Steinway & Sons piano factory located nearby, officials announced Tuesday.
"We try to find neighborhood elements to add to the design," said Queens Parks Commissioner Dorothy Lewandowski. "This one captures [a] unique feature from Astoria."
The water play area will be a concrete spray wall, with seating, in the shape of a Steinway baby grand piano, Parks officials said, along with pre-cast concrete piano keys set into the ground and a musical scale in bronze lettering.
The redesign project will also include a new adult fitness area in a space now occupied by an unused bocce ball court, plus new benches, safety surfaces, asphalt replacement and a reconstructed flag pole. The improvements will break ground in the fall of 2014.
A second phase of upgrades will include new playground play equipment, painted games, gate repair and the resealing of the basketball court, officials said.
The improvements are being paid for with combined City Council and mayoral funds, including $800,000 allocated by Astoria City Councilman Peter Vallone Jr., who said the playground, at 47th Street and 20th Avenue, is due for a makeover.
"The last big improvement to this park was in 1995," Vallone said, when his father, former City Council Speaker Peter Vallone, Sr., allocated half a million dollars to the playground.
"Raimonda Park is going to join parks like Astoria Park," Vallone said. "And really undergo a rebirth."