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Forest Hills Residents Form Group to Care for Storm-Damaged MacDonald Park

 Residents say the park struggles with poor maintenance.
Forest Hills Residents Call For Better Care At MacDonald Park
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QUEENS — A group of Forest Hills residents, worried that one of the few neighborhood’s parks is falling into neglect and disrepair, is planning to form a team to take care of the greenspace.

The group said that MacDonald Park, at the busy intersection of Queens and Yellowstone boulevards, struggles with issues like litter, overgrown shrubbery, weeds, cracked and patchy sidewalks, missing cobblestones and paint peeling from streetlamps.

“In recent years, particularly since the September 2010 tornado, Hurricane Irene, and Hurricane Sandy, MacDonald Park, which is a cornerstone of Forest Hills, was not being maintained as such,” wrote Michael Perlman of Rego-Forest Preservation Council in an email.

The tornado, the group said, destroyed 60 mature trees at the park. It also broke the irrigation system, leaving plastic pipes sticking out of the ground.

“We are trying to put it back together or take all those pipes out so that people don’t trip over them,” said Stephen Melnick of Forest Hills Green Team, a neighborhood group dedicated to beautifying the area.

The group is hoping to create a team of volunteers who will take care of various problems in the park on a regular basis.

Perlman said the group is also considering organizing musical events in the park, which would raise funds for the park's restoration.

Residents also planning to meet with the Parks Department representatives soon.

Melnick said volunteers would be making a list of problems they've noticed in the park. The group could repair or fix some of them and it would bring more serious issues to the attention of the Parks Department.

“We are going to be the eyes and ears for the Parks Department,” Melnick said.

The Parks Department said the agency supports volunteer initiatives in city parks.

Partnerships for Parks, a joint initiative of the Parks Department and the City Parks Foundation, provides free tools, plants, training and logistical support for park volunteer groups, according to the Parks Department.

Those interested in volunteering at MacDonald Park can reach the group by e-mail at info@queensblvd.org.