Pedestrians avoid a gaping sinkhole on the sidewalk along Forest Park Drive near Woodhaven Blvd. Local residents say the Parks Department has been slow to fix the sinkhole on Forest Park Drive. Meanwhile it has grown bigger over the last two years. Parks officials said it was caused by erosion and a repair plan is in the works. (Anthony Delmundo /New York Daily News
A growing sinkhole has been eating away a chunk of sidewalk along a busy stretch of Forest Park for at least two years, creating a hazard for pedestrians and runners, locals said, according to the New York Daily News.
“It’s a big blemish on our beautiful park,” said Marge Augliera, who has lived in Woodhaven for more than 40 years.
“And it’s in an area that is very dangerous to visitors coming to our wonderful carousel and bandshell.”
Parks Department workers placed metal barriers around the crater — which is 4 feet deep and about 10 feet wide — more than a year ago. But the city did nothing more to fix the fissure on Forest Park Drive, residents said.
“We saw the barricades and the sign that says ‘under construction,’ so we knew Parks was aware of the problem, and we assumed it would soon be fixed,” said Ed Wendell of the Woodhaven Residents’ Block Association.
“Then another summer rolled around and nothing had been done. It had grown, and the barricades were still up.”
Parks officials, who believe the sinkhole was caused by erosion from stormwater runoff, are now developing a plan.
We are currently designing a solution, which will include clearing and upgrading existing drainage structures, filling the sinkhole, reconstructing the sidewalk and stabilizing the adjacent slope,” the agency said in a statement.
“A contractor has already been mobilized to begin the work.”
Augliera said leaving such a visible part of the park in disrepair sends the wrong message.
“People will think our park is not taken care of,” she said. “They will just go to other parks.”
Wendell is hoping the next round of participatory budgeting, in which neighborhood residents can vote on how some city money is spent, will focus on fixing up the park.
“Unfortunately, if you walk through Forest Park, you’ll see a lot of busted and broken sidewalks, missing handrails and portions of sidewalks just plain missing,” he said.
“This park needs money and resources.”
New York Daily News - September 23, 2014 - By Lisa L. Colangelo