QUEENS —The Queens version of the High Line is one small step closer to becoming a reality.
The Trust for Public Land, which works on the proposed QueensWay, just got a $100,000 grant from The New York Community Trust “to support converting an abandoned rail line in Queens into a 3.5-mile linear park.”
The entire park, which envisions bicycle and pedestrian paths and an adventure park as well as a number of sports facilities, would run from Rego Park to Ozone Park along the rail line abandoned in the 1960s.
It would cost about $120 million to build it, according to a study, which was released last year.
So far The Trust for Public Land has been able to raise about $1.5 million, most of it from the state, according to Marc Matsil, the state's director for the group.
Currently, it is drafting a contract with a company to outline plans for the first section of the QueensWay, which would run from Metropolitan Expeditionary Learning School in Forest Hills to the edge of Forest Park, roughly a 0.5-mile stretch, Matsil said.
According to preliminary plans, that portion of the park would feature a picnic area and outdoor classrooms.
It would also provide "safer access to Forest Park from the Forest Hills and Glendale neighborhoods," according to The New York Community Trust.
The group is planning to conduct a series of additional workshops in neighborhoods adjacent to the proposed first section with local residents and MELS students to get their input about the project.
Project advocates are also planning to organize the first QueensWay festival in the summer of 2016.
"The goal is to celebrate the cultural diversity of residents who live near the QueensWay and the residents of Queens in general through cultural programming," Matsil said.
According to the Trust for Public Land, more than 320,000 people live in the neighborhoods within a mile of the proposed QueensWay.
"The proposed linear park ... will help knit together some of the most diverse neighborhoods in the United States, where more than 50 cultural groups and nationalities are represented," the New York Community Trust said in a statement.