By Katie McFadden
As we near summer’s end, many have been wondering what happened with the Beach 98th Playground that was slated to open in spring 2023.
The Beach 98th Playground is located on Shore Front Parkway from Beach 101st to Beach 98th Street. The park includes a playground with new equipment for children of various ages, spray shower features, a seating area, game tables, drinking fountains and more.
Plans to replace Rockaway’s parks and playground that were lost during Hurricane Sandy in 2012 began being discussed in 2013, and in 2014, NYC Parks released its Rockaway Parks Conceptual Plan, which highlighted 10 areas around the Rockaway peninsula that would have their parks renovated or completely rebuilt, with the community having heavy input on the plans.
Design for the Beach 98th Playground began in 2018 and was finalized in October 2019. Procurement was finalized in April 2022 and construction finally began in May 2022 with a projected opening of May 2023, But May, June, July and almost August have come and gone, and the park’s fences remain up as the nearly $8 million park remains closed to the public.
Many locals have been asking about what’s going on with the playground, saying its opening is long overdue. “It was planned for eight years ago. The summer has two weeks left and the park is still not open. It’s just totally ridiculous,” local resident Eddy Pastore, who advocated for the building of Shore Front Parkway’s parks, said.
The Rockaway Times reached out to NYC Parks to inquire about the delay. A spokesperson said, “Unfortunately, due to an unforeseen site condition, the Beach 98 Street Playground construction project has been delayed. We are working hard to finish this project for the enjoyment of the community and hope to have it open this fall.”
They went on to explain that there had been an issue with the park’s spray shower component, and while they were originally planning to open the park without the spray shower, further inspection revealed a defect with two playground features that needed to be replaced so that the park could be opened safely. NYC Parks is awaiting those parts to arrive so they can be installed.
While neighbors eagerly await the opening of the Beach 98th Playground, NYC Parks has opened several other new parks and playgrounds from Beach 73rd to Beach 108th Street along Shore Front Parkway in recent years, that are available for the public to enjoy.