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Rego-Forest Preservation Council * Michael Perlman, Chair

c/o Central Queens Historical Association, P.O. Box N, Kew Gardens, NY 11415 Blog: http://regoforestpreservation.blogspot.com Facebook Group: http://on.fb.me/RegoForest Flickr Photo Collections: http://bit.ly/RFPCphotos E-mail: unlockthevault@hotmail.com

August 13, 2011

Call To Action: Maintenance Problems in MacDonald Park, Forest Hills, NY


Since the early 1930s, MacDonald Park (Queens Blvd between Yellowstone Blvd & 70th Rd) with its Gerald MacDonald statue, has been an anchor of Forest Hills. In early August 2011, park-goers and passersby of Forest Hills MacDonald Park began to notice disturbing issues. Michael Perlman, Chairman of Rego-Forest Preservation Council, which addresses historic preservation and conservation issues in Forest Hills and Rego Park, documented the following community concerns, with photos in this 12-page document: 1. Trees that were planted in April 2011 in MacDonald Park were dying prematurely. In April 2011, multi-generation volunteers numbering over 800, collaborated to plant approximately 70 new trees in MacDonald Park, to help restore the parks natural beauty, after the September 2010 macroburst eliminated around 60 park trees. This was part of JetBlues One Thing Thats Green event. Around 160 trees were planted throughout Forest Hills, in close proximity to the park, which was one of the greatest damaged areas of Queens. As of August 2011, Rego-Forest Preservation Council is uncertain if some of those trees will survive. Hot summer temperatures and a recent drought are the likely cause of leaves drying up, and it may be too late for some trees. The soil consistently appears drier than one would expect. 2. Sunflowers appear to be vandalized. 3. A bench went missing, possibly due to vandalism. 4. Some bushes are unkempt. The flowers around tree pits, which were planted in April 2011, have succumbed. 5. The lawn often has major areas that are bald.

Rego-Forest Preservation Council respectfully requests the NYC Parks Department to:
1. Frequently water the young trees, particularly during dry spells. 2. Monitor the park as often as possible, and consider the installation of cameras to record vandalism. 3. Maintain existing shrubs, and plant more throughout the park. Also plant and maintain flowers, and replace them when necessary. Increase water supply to the lawn and address bald spots.

Location: The central northern gateway to MacDonald Park at 70th Ave Whats Wrong? This park gateway welcomes park-goers with 2 apparently dead trees.

Location: The west side of the central northern gateway to MacDonald Park at 70th Ave Whats Wrong? An apparently dead tree

Location: The east side of the central northern gateway to MacDonald Park at 70th Ave Whats Wrong? An apparently dead tree

Location: The east side of the central southern gateway to MacDonald Park at 70th Ave Whats Wrong? Besides the trees health, this corner is characterized by unhealthy and uneven shrubs.

Location: The north side of the central corridor near 70th Ave Whats Wrong? A tree dying prematurely

Location: Northwest section Whats Wrong? A tree dying prematurely

Location: Northwest section Whats Wrong? Even though this tree does not show signs of dried leaves, the tops of branches are becoming bare.

Location: East side of northern gateway Whats Wrong? This tree seems to be leaning a bit too much, and may benefit with the use of supports.

MacDonald Parks west end exhibits a colorful surpriseSunflowers! Whats Wrong? The few sunflowers behind the intact duo shows 2 sunflowers, with the flowers apparently vandalized (right photo & below photos).

In April 2011, volunteers planted colorful floral varieties around the perimeter tree pits of MacDonald Park. Whats Wrong? Today the above tree pits are filled with weeds, and there is no trace of flowers planted by volunteers not long ago. Car drivers and passengers have carelessly stepped on the flowers. Flowers in tree pits should be watered, de-weeded, and re-planted routinely, and decorative rails should be installed to safeguard curb tree pits.

Southwestern row of benches vs. northwestern row of benches Whats Wrong? One bench on the northwestern row went missing, leaving the public with a rusty cement pavement with 6 holes where the bench once stood, which is also shown below. Also note 1 in a series of bald lawns and unkempt shrubbery.