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Neglected Astoria Playground Gets Facelift Under New City Program

By Jeanmarie Evelly | September 22, 2015 10:12am
 Sean's Place was one of 60 parks that got upgrades recently under the Community Parks Initiative.
Improvements at Sean's Place
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ASTORIA — A neighborhood playground previously criticized for litter and neglect got a makeover as part of a new program that funds upgrades at city parks.

The Parks Department removed graffiti at Sean's Place, on 38th Street between Broadway and 31st Avenue, and also repainted its handball courts and its playground equipment, which was faded and scratched.

The work finished earlier this month and is part of the Community Parks Initiative, which aims to renovate the city's smaller parks located in neighborhoods with higher-than-average poverty levels, according to the city.

Sean's Place is one of 60 parks that got short-term "physical improvements" in recent months which included things like painting equipment, fixing benches and planting greenery.

The initiative will also fund more substantial, long-term improvements at a number of other parks in the coming years, according to the Parks Department.

"Targeted improvements have enhanced these treasured community spaces so neighbors would feel welcomed and proud, and engage their parks and playgrounds," Parks Commissioner Mitchell Silver said in a statement.

Locals had previously complained about the condition of Sean's Place, which was named after Sean McDonald, a local police officer who was shot and killed when on duty in 1994.

An online petition in 2012 called the playground a "minefield of dangerous debris," while former Councilmember Peter Vallone Jr. organized a cleanup that same year, removing over 1,000 pounds of garbage from an alley next to the park, according to a press release at the time.