DITMARS — The bathrooms at a popular playground in Astoria Park that have sat closed for the last three summers now won't reopen until 2020, a year later than previously expected, under an expanded plan to renovate the play space, officials said.
The bathrooms at Charybdis Playground have been out of order since the summer of 2015, the result of a plumbing snafu that was dumping waste from the facilities and those at the nearby Astoria Pool into the East River for decades.
The problem requires a new sewer line in the park, work that officials expect will wrap up in the summer of 2019. The restrooms were initially slated to open then, too, but are now being included in a separate project to expand and renovate Charybdis Playground under the city's Anchor Parks program.
The initiative, announced last year, provided $30 million for improvements to Astoria Park, the first phase of which will be used to overhaul the running track and add a new soccer field.
"We got this windfall of money to do more," she explained. "This gives us an opportunity to do a full renovation [of the bathrooms].
Under the plan, the rundown restrooms — which parents had previously described as "disgusting" — will be upgraded, and a small room will be added to the facility to house a Parks Department staff member.
The staffer will be in charge of organizing "structured games and activities" for children visiting the playground under the city's "Kids in Motion" program, an effort to keep kids active and healthy, Lewandowski said.
Both the playground and the bathroom renovations are slated for completion in the spring of 2020.
In the meantime, the Parks Department will continue to provide temporary trailer restrooms at the playground during the warmer months. Both the trailer and standard bathrooms close each year from the end of October through spring, though the temporary bathrooms were shuttered a few weeks early this year because of a plumbing problem.
Visitors can also find comfort stations that are open year-round at the Astoria Park Field House, located near the park's running track, according to a Park Department spokeswoman.