Chappetto Square Joins the Community Parks Initiative
by Clare Doyle
Mayor Bill de Blasio has announced that Chappetto Square in Astoria will receive city funding and upgrades since it has just been added to the Community Parks Initiative. Founded in 2014, the Community Parks Initiative (CPI) focuses on improving parks in neighborhoods with dense and/or growing populations. Chappetto Square is the only Queens park on the list of 11 parks just added to the CPI roster.
In his announcement, the Mayor spoke of how the CPI will enrich the lives of the community: “when you talk to everyday people this is exactly the kind of thing they say. . . . They want their park to be better for their children, it’s one of the most passionate things I hear from my fellow New Yorkers.
During the press conference announcing the addition of 11 more parks to the CPI, New York City Parks Commissioner Mitchell Silver gave a shout-out to Van Alst Playground in Astoria, “the first of the Community Parks Initiative that’s been transformed . . . now with vibrant colors and new places where people could enjoy of all ages. I’m told from the mothers in Astoria this is now their most favorite destination park to go to.”
Council Member Costa Constantinides said: “Improving a park brings improvements to an entire neighborhood. The Community Parks Initiative has already begun to improve under-served parks in Astoria including Van Alst and Astoria Heights Playgrounds. We are looking forward to seeing upgrades at Chappetto Square. The capital improvements and added infrastructure upgrades will be enjoyed by children and families. As a greenspace that is so frequently used yet hasn’t been renovated in many years, the CPI funding for Chappetto Square will provide a real benefit to the neighborhood around it. I look forward to working with the Parks Department and the community as we move forward with this initiative.”
The Parks department acquired this plot of land from the Port Authority after the Triborough Bridge had been completed and it was renamed Chappetto Square in 1947 in honor of Lieutenant Peter Chappetto, an Astoria resident who was killed in action in World War II. Chappetto, who played basketball for Bryant High School and was also a keen baseball player, had attained the rank of 2nd Lieutenant in the 81st Infantry Division when he was killed during the invasion of Palau in the Pacific in 1944. A bronze plaque memorializing the fallen serviceman was put up that read : “Peter Chappetto Memorial Square: Dedicated to a Great Sportsman Who Loved God and his Fellow Men and Who Made the Supreme Sacrifice for his Country. Erected by his Friends, Nov 11, 1949.”
OANA welcomes the funding for Chappetto Square and looks forward to a renovation that will be successful as the recent upgrade of Van Alst Playground. The design phase will begin next month—there is no date yet for public scoping meetings but we will keep you posted. We encourage everyone to attend the scoping meeting if they can and to let the Parks Department know what you’d like to see happen at Chappetto Square. If you have ideas but are unable to attend the meeting in person we will post information on sending comments by mail.
Chappetto Square; photo credit Richard Khuzami
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