Last Wednesday, the Parks Department dedicated the Joseph B. Hellman Overlook at Old Oak Pond Park, located at the intersection of Douglaston Parkway and 243rd Street.
The Parks Department recently bought the parcel of land for $850,000 thanks to funding allocated by then-State Senator Frank Padavan. It’s not much more than a vacant lot now, but future improvements, including landscaping, new sidewalks, and benches, will create a passive park with a view of Old Oak Pond.
The site has long been eyed for development, beginning with plans for a service center for a nearby Ford dealership and most recently for apartments.
Local residents, led by longtime Community Board 11 member Joseph Hellman, successfully fought the developments, buying time for the money to be found to preserve the site as open space.
Hellman’s wife, Joan, was on hand for the unveiling of a plaque commemorating her husband and his advocacy.
“I recall not seeing him for long periods of time because he was so busy working on this,” she said.