Saturday, November 24, 2012

Lack Of Park Personnel Cited In Parks Still Closed After Hurricane Sandy

The Parks Department has less than a hundred full-time climbers and pruners for more than 2.5 million trees. Some of the fallen trees in Andrew's Grove (AKA Shady Playground)  - a popular playground in Long Island City - were removed only last week. It remains closed. (Photo: Geoffrey Croft/NYC Park Advocates)
Many of New York City's parks and playgrounds are still closed three weeks after Hurricane Sandy ravaged the area, according to WNBC news. 

While the city Parks Department says 88 percent of the parks have reopened and that it has made a lot of progress, critics are still upset about those parks that remain closed.
  "I think we should rename it disaster park," said 9-year-old Gabriel Lev as he stood with his mother outside Andrews Grove playground in Long Island City.

Hurricane Sandy brought down at least seven large trees in the park.  Pictures taken after the storm show the playground completely covered by thick trunks and large branches. The playground and its fencing were also damaged.

"Trees down everywhere," said Chris Thompson. "It's sad -- we miss the park, it's a huge loss for the neighborhood."

Officials at the Parks Department say they are doing their best, and crews are working long hours, but this is a monumental task. A spokesman said the department received 26,000 tree-service-related requests, and 15,000 of them were for trees that fell along streets.

Geoffrey Croft, president of NYC Park Advocates, said the city can do better.

"You have less than a hundred climbers and pruners for the entire city of 2 million trees," said Croft, blaming budget cuts and downsizing. "That is far, far, far, too few."

Liam Kavanagh, first deputy commissioner of the Parks Department, said other parks workers were also participating in the clean-up effort.
"In addition to nearly a hundred dedicated climbers and pruners, our full-time staff includes trained foresters as well as park managers and workers with tree care experience," Kavanagh said.

The department also brought in over a hundred emergency crews to help. 
Meanwhile, residents in Long Island City are hoping the playground will be ready for spring.

Read/View More:

After Sandy, Some NYC Parks Stay Shut
WNBC - November 23, 2012 - By Pei-Sze Cheng

A Queens Community Loses A Beloved Park's Namesake & Much More
A Walk In The Park - November 5, 2012 - By Geoffrey Croft

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