Tonight, the CB8 Parks Committee is meeting. On the agenda is the following, according to their website: - East River Esplanade Updates from Friends of the East River Esplanade - Ruppert Park Updates - Report from Wes Hamilton, Park Manager, Department of Parks and Recreation - Old Business - New Business Here's the Zoom link to join:forms.gle
Board member Rita Popper outlines some of the issues, like mosquitos and rodents. She has spent a lot of time listening to families in the area, conveying their feedback by saying "what every mother wants is a bathroom." Other project ideas include a dog run to keep the dogs from relieving themselves where kids play.
One board member points out that the Parks Department had not listed a bathroom in their renovation for Ruppert Park. Co-chair Barry Schneider says he will draft a letter to the department to ensure that this need will be met. Another question looking to clarify cost of bathroom. Popper reminds that it will be a single stall bathroom, as that is all they can afford with the funds available.
Updates from the Friends of the East River Esplanade, presented by Stacy Papas: - Two Big Belly 250 gallon trash cans have been delayed because of shipping issues. - Sept 18 is the start of community events hosted by the Friends & the opening of a Photoville exhibition - New bait station at 100th street
Public comments and questions about the Esplanade: Q: Repairs at 101st street esplanade? And who is responsible for ensuring that area is passable in winter and bad weather? A: Papas says that Parks has funding for repairs north of 96th St. NYCEDC will be managing the repairs for this section of the park. Upcoming meetings with Parks will also clarify if/how there will be a link with Harlem greenway. Shimamura says that when it comes to obstructions on the esplanade, people can reach out to board members, Friends of the East River Esplanade, Parks Department or city council members. Papas clarifies that the Friends are advocates and do not have direct responsibility for conditions. She says people should call 311 if there is an issue.
Q: Homeless encampments on esplanade? A: Shimamura says people should not be setting up permanent structures or fixtures on esplanade, and people should reach out to CB8 members or council member Kallos' office to ensure that DHS can reach out and engage with people on an individual level. People can reach out to CB8 members at [email protected]cb8m.com
Shimamura asks about any updates to the Big Belly trash cans for the esplanade, as trash is a big problem. Papas says that the Parks Department was actually able to secure two extra cans, totaling 4 Big Belly's to be placed on the esplanade. Locations are TBD, as they need to be accessible for Parks workers to remove those huge bags (which can be quite heavy). Shimamura suggests to place one right by the 71st street walkway. Many people eat lunch by there, "which is what we want," but often just leave their trash on the ground.
Papas says no damage found from hurricanes on esplanade. Wesley Hamilton, Parks Manager with the Parks Department, says CB8 faired very well with Ida and Henri. One small area will need a re-inspection from engineers. There was flooding and damage at John Jay, but that has been addressed, including a flooded sandbox. Slow drains at Carl Schurz Park caused a lot of muck and mud. It took the Parks Department and the Carl Schurz Park Conservancy "some long hours and extra hours trying to get it all cleaned up," saying he greatly appreciated their help.
Shimamura asks Hamilton about a damaged handrail and sinkholes, especially one by the Con Ed building by 74th street. Hamilton says the handrail at the 79th street ramp was repaired at some point, but is now damaged again and will be repaired. The sinkhole at 74th street is concerning, Hamilton says, and they are trying to figure out, with its proximity to FDR drive, if it requires DOT involvement.
Now the full report from Parks Department Parks Manager, Wesley Hamilton. Hamilton says parks usage is way up, busier than ever, "which is a good thing." Last weekend for pools! :( Project beginning at John Jay for the seating area beginning in September after the pool closes. Renovations are now done at Twenty-Four Sycamores park. And then Hamilton announces that he is moving to Riverside Park, leading many CB8 members' jaws to drop. He assures the board that they will be left in good hands.
A board member asks about barriers set up around Carl Schurz Park. Hamilton says it's all NYPD and is not based on Black Lives Matters but on the Mayor's activity or if the NYPD feels there is a credible threat. Sometimes the barriers are there, sometimes they aren't, says Hamilton. "I think it's awful. This is our park," says Board Member Barbra Rudder, adding that she appreciates Hamilton's time addressing the issue. She pledges to not say anything else, "except when I have to go all the way back to 84th street, you'll hear some four letter words."
New Business: - Dog owners want to look into a dog park in or near John Jay Park. Two people at the meeting have said their dogs have gotten sick from the large dog park at Carl Schurz Park, and that there's a big need for a dog park closer to John Jay park. Shimamura agrees that the need is there, and also that there are already tensions at the park between dog owners and parents with children. CB8 has received a lot of emails about dog bites and other issues. She then explains the process that will take place with the community board, as many of those who brought up the issue are at their first CB8 meeting. Others are concerned that the park is already very small and voiced concerns about the existing space and its use. A potential dog run will be placed on the agenda for a future meeting.
More New Business: - Shimamura shares a picture of the groundbreaking at the Harlem Meer for a new pool, part of the Central Park Conservancy's North End Restoration:www.centralparknyc.org