DITMARS — A popular children's playground near the Astoria waterfront is getting a makeover as part of the Anchor Parks program — which provided $30 million for improvements there and at four of the city's other green spaces, according to the Parks Department.
Charybdis Playground, located in the middle of Astoria Park near Shore Boulevard, will be overhauled during the second phase of the Anchor Parks plan, officials said. It will follow the first phase of the project announced earlier this year, which will use $13.5 million to renovate the running track and add a turf soccer field.
The Parks Department will hold a community meeting on May 25 at Ricardo's By the Bridge starting at 7 p.m., where staff will ask residents what they would like to see included in the playground upgrades.
There's currently $21 million allocated for Astoria Park — money that includes the remainder of the Anchor Park funding, as well as $2.7 million set aside by Councilman Costa Constantinides to replace the Charybdis spray shower and another $600,000 received from participatory budgeting.
The Parks Department will take the input it receives from next week's meeting to come up with a final budget and list of renovations for playground, according to Spokeswoman Meghan Lalor.
Crews are already doing work to replace the sewage system at the playground, where the restrooms have been shuttered since 2015, when officials discovered a plumbing snafu had been sending sewage into the nearby East River for years.
While the the sewage repairs have already been funded, some of the Anchor Park money may be used for additional cosmetic upgrades at the playground's bathrooms, according to Lalor. The restrooms are not expected to reopen until at least 2019, officials have said.
Local skateboarders are also hoping to see some of the Anchor Park funds used for upgrades to the Astoria Park skate park, where they've been pushing for lights to be installed so the space can be used in the evenings.
"There are a lot of skateboarders in the area," said Tim Barth, a member of the New York City Skateboarding Coalition, who lives nearby.
He and other members have been attending each of the Anchor Park meetings to advocate for a share of the funds, and say they feel the skate park has been left out of the renovation discussions.
"You're putting money in literally every other aspect of the park except for the skate park. How is that fair?" he said.
Lalor said the agency is waiting to determine the final budget for the Charybdis Playground upgrades, but do expect that there will be money leftover that could potentially be used for lighting at the skate park.