The Forest Park Greenhouse, which for over a century has been a haven to flowers and plants that are shipped off to all parts of Queens, has gotten a multi-million dollar facelift.
City and local officials had the chance to show off the renovated the agricultural facility at a ceremony outside the greenhouse on Monday, April 30th.
The ceremony celebrated the $3.8 million reconstruction of two sections of the greenhouse, which was built between 1904 and 1905.
New York City Department of Parks & Recreation Commissioner Adrian Benepe said the renovation will allow the greenhouse to hold more plants and increase production by 25 percent. They will now be able to grow about 250,000 annuals and perennials, which is about 50,000 more than last year.
“We’ve gone from old and falling apart to state-of-the-art,” Benepe said.
According to Mark Ford, a Parks department supervisor who oversees the building, some of the changes to the greenhouse include a thermal panel for the plants inside the facility.
The greenhouse was closed for about five years while it was undergoing its renovation.
Queens Borough President Helen Marshall, who kicked in about $1 million for the facility’s reconstruction, said that she appreciates the new greenhouse because she has seen it before its reconstruction.
“I visited the old greenhouse and I was saying to myself ‘can’t we do better than this?’” Marshall said.
Peter DeLucia, who represented State Senator Joe Addabbo at the event, read a statement from Addabbo showing his appreciation for its renovation. He had pushed for funding of the facility’s reconstruction while he was in the city council.
“This 100-year-old site has provided planting citywide for many events and ceremonies. It has been an educational source of horticultural information for thousands of individuals, including seniors and students,” part of Addabbo’s statement read.
He allocated $2.3 million in funding to the facility, according to the statement.
Queens Borough Parks Commissioner Dorothy Lewandowski said that although Parks facilities like the greenhouse are maintained by the staff on hand, they are always looking for volunteers to help with gardening or maintain a park.
People from the St. John Evangelical Lutheran School, which is on Myrtle Avenue, right next to Forest Park, attended the ceremony as well.
Ben Herbrich, the school’s principal, said that they “are so blessed to be a block away from the park,” and he hopes that the kids will be able to walk over to the new greenhouse and use it as an educational facility.
By Luis Gronda