Photo: NYC Parks / Daniel Avila

$4.2 million phase two will create a new outdoor classroom and boardwalk built with reclaimed wood from Sandy-destroyed Rockaway Boardwalk

Project partially funded through NY Rising grant

NYC Parks Commissioner Sue Donoghue today joined Queens Borough President Donovan Richards, the Governor’s Office of Storm Recovery Assistant Communication Director Shachar Roloson, Assemblywoman Stacey Pheffer Amato, Broad Channel Civic Association & Jamaica Bay Ecowatchers Representative Daniel Mundy Sr., and members of the community to break ground on phase two of the Sunset Cove Park project in Queens which will bring a new boardwalk and outdoor classroom to the park. 

Closed for more than a decade, Sunset Cove Park was restored and reopened in 2019 with a salt marsh and maritime upland. This picturesque Broad Channel park helps to provide important storm protection and restore the waterways of Jamaica Bay. At the event, Urban Park Rangers hosted an educational tour of the recently renovated wetlands.

“I am thrilled to break ground on the second phase of the Sunset Cove project, as we continue to revitalize a space that was for years inaccessible to the community,” said Commissioner Donoghue. “This project strikes at the core of our work here at parks, at the intersection of greenspace expansion, environmental resiliency, and fun educational amenities for the youth in our communities – we look forward to unveiling the new boardwalk and outdoor classroom in the near future!”

“Projects like Sunset Cove demonstrate how we can reimagine our relationship to the land and water around us to meet our climate and resiliency goals,” said Kizzy Charles-Guzman, Executive Director of the Mayor’s Office of Climate and Environmental Justice. “We are thrilled to see the inclusion of wetland and salt marsh restoration to reduce storm impacts, sustainable construction using reclaimed wood, and the opportunity for young New Yorkers to use this space to learn from the environment around them. Congratulations to NYC Parks, GOSR, and all of the community partners who contributed to this project.”

“Thanks to its unique location, Sunset Cove is well positioned to tell the story of how Jamaica Bay’s wetlands perform critical functions that safeguard our environment,” said Queens Borough President Donovan Richards Jr.  “The kids who will walk this boardwalk and use this classroom will be able to learn about their surroundings in a way they couldn’t before, giving them a more thorough understanding of the environment and the threats posed to it.  Hopefully the lessons learned here will prompt our next generation of leaders to be more supportive of what needs to be done to protect our environment and our communities, which have been devastated time and time again by Sandy, Ida, and other severe weather events that have been exacerbated by climate change.”

GOSR Executive Director Katie Brennan said, “The new boardwalk and outdoor classroom at Sunset Cove will restore ecological habitat, enhance resiliency, and build the next generation of environmental leaders. GOSR is proud to help advance this project through our community-driven grassroots planning process and we thank NYC Parks for their partnership.”

Phase two of the Sunset Cove Park project will construct an 8’ wide boardwalk adjacent to the newly restored wetland at Sunset Cove Park. The boardwalk will be partially constructed using reclaimed wood from the Rockaway Boardwalk destroyed by Hurricane Sandy in 2012, and will lead to a covered outdoor classroom that has interpretive elements, including inset seasonal sun position information and binoculars.Two new bioswales will also be built at the park entrance to collect stormwater.

Phase one of the project, previously completed in June 2019, restored 4.5 acres of salt marsh and 7 acres of maritime upland in the park to improve habitat, enhance public waterfront access and reduce wave and wind impacts during storms.

The $4.2 million phase two project was funded through a New York Rising grant, with additional support from the Office of the Queens Borough President, State Senator Joseph Addabbo, Jr., and then-Assemblymember Phil Goldfeder with continued support from Assemblywoman Stacey Pheffer Amato.