Thursday, September 16, 2010

Tire Swing Park To Close for Repairs Three Months After Controversial Construction

Bill Schuemaker, whose daughter bumped her head on the crossbar of the tire swing, pushes the swing to demonstrate how he says children can be hurt.

Battery Park City's West Thames Park, locally known as Tire Swing Park, will close for repairs 
three months after re-opening. Despite  strong community opposition, NY State DOT went ahead with the controversial $ 9.4 million plan which removed the original playground to accommodate "Pataki's Promenade," a plan left over from the previous administration which extended the promenade north, through the playground. The plan also destroyed more than a dozens trees. 

Since its re-opening the park has been plagued with a variety of issues including a tire swing where at least two children were hurt,  poor drainage and cracked safety surfacing. Bill Schoemaker,  (above) father of one of the girls who bumped her head on the crossbar of the tire swing,  demonstrates how the tire can easily reach the cross beam.  The swing was removed. (Photo: Carl Glassman/TRIBECA TRIB.  


The controversial tire swing isn’t the only problem at West Thames Park.

Just three months after the $9.4 million park opened, the water play area does not drain properly, the springy safety surface is cracked and the grass field has turned into a mud pit, according to DNA info.

"We haven’t wanted to close it, because it’s so popular and well used," said Lisa Weiss, urban design director for the State Department of Transportation, which built the park.

But as the problems added up, the state realized it made sense to close the lawn and playground and fix everything at once. The two-week closure will likely happen later this month or early next month.

The state declined to say how much the repairs would cost. The original $9.4 million came from the Federal Transit Administration’s 9/11 recovery fund.

During the closure, the state will likely reinstall the tire swing that injured several children earlier this summer, said Adam Levine, State DOT spokesman. Community Board 1 gave the tire swing the green light at a meeting last week.

Of the many issues at West Thames Park, parents said one of the biggest disappointments was the lawn, which turned into a mud puddle a few weeks after it opened.

Weiss said the irrigation system was left on too long one night, which compacted the sod and caused poor drainage. The state is still figuring out how to repair the lawn, she said.

$9.4 Million West Thames Park to Close for Repairs Three Months After Opening

irrigation issues on the lawn and poor drainage in the spray shower area have added to the frustration of park users. (Photos: Julie Shapiro/DNA info)

Read/View More:

DNAinfo - September 14, 2010 - By Julie Shapiro  

A Walk In The Park - September 9, 2009 

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