Residents, community boards demand that city ramp up staffing at parks throughout the Bronx

Today the Daily News posted an important article on how Bronxites are fed up with the lack of staff and coverage for our parks.

Our borough is the greenest of the 5 counties which make up this beautiful city of ours. We are home to the largest and 3rd largest park in the city yet as many residents can attest, our parks are severely understaffed compared to Manhattan counterparts.

St Mary’s, which serves Mott Haven and Melrose residents alike is one of the few full service parks in the system with a swimming pool among its many amenities but it is a dirty and poorly maintained park.

Each an every single time I’ve walked through the park, the trash cans are overflowing with garbage and I have yet to see park staff around the grounds emptying trash. Worse of all is the lack of trash cans around so residents end up just piling it on – and don’t get me started on the fact that we have the solution to this problem right here in the Bronx with the Big Belly Trash Compactors.

Below is the article from the Daily News and let us know your thoughts in the comments section, we really want to know!

Residents, community boards demand that city ramp up staffing at parks throughout the Bronx 

Leaders from the Bronx Park East Community Association, Community Boards 10 and 11 fired off letters to Parks Commissioner Veronica White seeking infusion of maintenance workers, enforcement officers.

WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 7, 2013, 3:55 PM

The Bronx may not be getting its fair share of workers to maintain the borough’s vast network of city-operated parks, or enforcement officers to police them.

So say residents of several leafy neighborhoods, who are up in arms over what they are calling a dangerous slight on the part of the city.

Leaders from the Bronx Park East Community Association, Community Boards 10 and 11 all fired off letters to Parks Commissioner Veronica White over the past month demanding that the city ramp up staffing levels at parks throughout the Bronx.


Civic associations have been complaing that the city doesn't have enough enforcement officers to patrol Pelham Parkway, which is frequently strewn with litter thanks to the illegal barbecues that are commonplace.

“The way I feel is that we are being short-changed,” said Anthony Vitaliano, the Chairman of Community Board 11. “This is potentially a very dangerous situation.”

The Bronx contains more parkland than any other borough, roughly 25% of the city’s greenspace.

District manager Kenneth Kearns of Community Board 10 in the east Bronx said he was told that only 30 to 40 new hires would be assigned to the borough.

“With the amount of parkland in our neighborhoods, the community board believes they should be taken care of and adequately staffed,” Kearns said.

A Parks Department spokesman said that of 414 recent hires, 207 were general parks workers, 81 Parks Enforcement Police officers, 96 maintenance workers and 30 climbers and pruners. The spokesman would not say how many of those would be assigned to the Bronx.

When aging trees are not properly maintained, it increases the chances of a costly and potentially hazardous accident.

“Staffing for each community board is determined by park usage and adjusted frequently according to park conditions,” the spokesman said.

Vitaliano cited the recent death of a Queens woman in Kissena Park as an example of what can happen when parks aren’t properly maintained.

“They don’t take care of the trees. They don’t trim them, and when it rains the branches are likely to come down,” the retired NYPD lieutenant said.

Pelham Parkway, a tree-covered thoroughfare that stretches across the neighborhoods, has been a frequent barbecue spot on weekends this summer, angering many residents that say the city has done nothing to curb the illegal cookouts.

A Parks Department representative dismissed the claims that Bronx parks are dangerously understaffed.

“Any assertion that Bronx parks receive less than their fair share of staffing, maintenance or funding is simply untrue,” the spokesman said.
Parks in both Community Board 10 and 11 passed more than 94% of agency inspections performed this year, according to the city.

“I think that they’ve been responsive,” a hopeful Kearns said of the city. “There are so many parks here, we just want them to be safe.”

Vitaliano said he wasn’t as convinced that the Bronx would be adequately staffed.

“Maybe Manhattan gets the priority,” he said. “But we should be getting more than what we are.”

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Ed García Conde

Ed García Conde is a life-long Bronxite who spends his time documenting the people, places, and things that make the borough a special place in the hopes of dispelling the negative stereotypes associated with The Bronx. His writings are often cited by mainstream media and is often consulted for his expertise on the borough's rich history.