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Newtown - Elmhurst Former Gas Holder

Voluntary Cleanup Program Site Number V00406

View of Elmhurst gas tanks from highway
The Elmhurst Tanks, visible
from the highway, were a local
landmark. Photo courtesy of The
Queens Tribune.


Site owners intended to sell this property, located in Elmhurst, for commercial purposes. After community groups expressed the need for a public park, the owners agreed to sell the land to New York City for $1.

Site Description

This Queens County property once contained two KeySpan Newtown gas holders, known as the Elmhurst gas tanks. The tanks were 275-feet in diameter, visible from the highway and well-known as a local landmark. Following cleanup, the property was donated to New York City (NYC) to be developed as a park and a community center.


An investigation determined that the entire site was covered by soil contaminated with lead. Over 18,000 tons of soil were excavated and the gas tanks, totaling 20,000,000 cubic feet, were demolished. Both the soil and tanks were disposed of offsite.

In order to develop this property into a park, the site grade was raised by 6 to 12 feet of clean soil. The work for landscaping and for a playground followed the site management plan (SMP) developed under DEC's Voluntary Cleanup Program. Annual SMP Periodic Reviews are submitted to DEC and evaluated by staff.


Playground at Elmhurst Park
Elmhurst Park opened to the public in
2011. Photo courtesy of NYC Parks
and Recreation.

The $20-million six-acre project includes a new playground, lighting, new trees and landscaping, and walking paths. A key feature is an underground retention system for storm water to reduce the amount of water flowing into the sewer pipes in the street. In April 2009, the project received the Big Apple Brownfield Open Space Award from the New York City Brownfield Partnership. The Park opened to the public in 2011.

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