The Arrogance of the Parks Department, by George Fiala

By now, most people who live or work in Red Hook know that Coffey Park, which CB 6 District Manager Craig Hammerman has called an important village square, has been closed to the public since the middle of April. Fenced off for an announced renovation, the park has remained quiet, with no renovation work apparent except for some tree pruning. Hammerman explained that the contractor has a year to do the renovation, and what part of the year they choose to work is up to them (see related article in the June edition of the Star-Revue).

John McGettrick leading last night's Civic Association meeting.

John McGettrick leading last night’s Civic Association meeting.

Many who attended last night’s Civic Association meeting expressed displeasure with what is going on, and people spoke of possible tactics to inform the Park’s Department of the community’s unhappiness at the lack of information and involvement given to us. At this point, only peaceful measures were discussed. John McGettrick, looking over the crowd and seeing political representatives from the State Assembly and Senate, suggested reaching out to NY State. The representative from State Senator Montgomery explained that this was a matter for the City Council. Unfortunately, nobody from the City Council was present at the Civic Association meeting.

At last night’s meeting, I took notes, I participated and I snapped a few photos. In addition, I left my keys there in the Beacon room. I only realized this after a beer with some neighborhood friends at Bait and Tackle. I went back to retreive them, but by then only the janitor was left. I told him my story, and he said that Mel from Beacon mentioned something about a set of keys. Mel was gone for the day, and I looked around the principal’s office, but didn’t see any keys.

So this morning I hiked over to the school, worried that the good folks at the 76th would ticket me for leaving a car past 7 am in front of a school. Along the way I walked the perimeter of the park, and noticed some parks department cars inside. As I passed Visitation, walking on Richards Street, I noticed a gaggle of people inside the park, deep in conversation. I walked over to see if I could get some information. The group, which included someone in a DOT vest, a couple of men with Parks Dept Capital shirts, and some young men and women, some holding what looked like rolled up blueprints, looked over at me, looked at themselves, and walked deeper into the park.

Here are the two cars, as well as a shot of the paving stones that the 'renovation' will demolish and replace with black tar.

Here are the two cars, as well as a shot of the paving stones that the ‘renovation’ will demolish and replace with black tar.

I kept waiting for their meeting to break up so I could ask a question – namely, what everyone wants to know – What’s going on? It was a good wait, as I got to talk to Tony Schloss of RHI, who happened to be biking through.

Finally they were done, and I walked closer to ask my question, identifying myself as with the local newspaper. First they ignored me, then one of the men from Parks glared at me and said that if needed to know anything, call 311. I told him that I had heard Marty Mahr’s presentation at CB 6, thinking that might give me some credibility, but instead he yelled back at me to then go ask Mahr, and then he stormed off.

Walking away from your's truly.

Walking away from your’s truly.

Leaving me wondering why, in this new age of Progressivism in city government, such arrogance is tolerated.

PS – the rest of the morning was charmed, as I got my keys and didn’t get a ticket! Thank you PS 15!

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This entry was posted in Coffey Park, Community Board 6, Politics and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to The Arrogance of the Parks Department, by George Fiala

  1. James Vogel says:

    Really, George? “Shouted out”? You managed to leave out that Senator Montgomery’s office had been in communication with the Parks Department on this issue and were told BY THE PARKS DEPARTMENT that this was a city issue and the State should stay out of it.

    But maybe you missed that. I am very surprised.

    • redhookstar says:

      OK, I fixed it. Actually, we have written in our past two editions that the money came from the City budget – the majority from Sara Gonzalez’s discretionary funding, 2011/12 season, and the balance from the city treasury. John was mistaken in thinking that the State had anything to say about this. Although it’s tough to follow the money trickle – Governor Cuomo’s NY Rising angel dust is actually HUD money, which is the federal government. But Andrew sure likes to take credit – maybe that’s what politics is all about much of the time – taking credit. I hear that all the local pols, Velmanette included, signed onto a letter taking credit for keeping hospital services at LICH via the Peebles group – I guess that was a case of bad timing in the credit department, as LICH continues to be the story that never ends (until of course Andrew gets everything). Even to the extent of cutting out McCalls’s pal Don Peebles.

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