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Playing around: Locals say city dithering on repairing playgrounds

Still waiting: Local moms Dari Litchman, Ingrid Labossiere, Monika Bartok, and Tara Siringo are fed up with the poor condition of the playground at IS 278 in Marine Park.
Brooklyn Daily
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It’s playground procrastination!

The Parks Department is dragging its feet in fixing the dangerous and uneven flooring in Marine Park’s eponymous playground, and broke its promise that it would do so by year’s end, locals say.

“I’m super frustrated by it because children are getting hurt. It’s not safe,” said Marine Park mom Tara Siringo, who has been fighting for several years to get repairs made to IS 278 and Lenape Playground, which she says are filled with tripping hazards for youngsters.

Brooklyn parks czar Marty Maher announced this past May during a ribbon cutting ceremony for the greenspace’s new bocce courts — which were part of a $5.45-million overhaul for new basketball, tennis, and handball courts, and exercise equipment — that the city agency’s workers would smooth over IS 278’s flooring and asphalt by the end of the year.

“By the end of 2017 with our in-house forces, while we are waiting for funding, we are going to correct the irregularities in the surfaces and get the safety surface done,” Maher said on May 11 outside the $16-million Carmine Carro Center.

But by August, when Parks honchos still hadn’t made any improvements, a group of local moms became livid, and again begged the city to gussy up the dilapidated playground, which they charged was falling apart with regularly clogged spray showers and chipped paint, in addition to the dangerous flooring.

And now, with 2018 just about two weeks ago, the Parks Department still promises to smooth over the asphalt, but admitted it won’t make its own deadline to fix the safety surface underneath the play equipment — which is a real slap in the face to the kids who regularly play there, said Siringo, who feels that the playground repairs should have taken precedence over the bocce court renovations.

“The playground needed it the most, and they chose to use that money for the bocce courts,” she said. “Not that they don’t deserve nice bocce courts, because they do, but safety comes first in my eyes before something is done.”

The Parks Department currently doesn’t have the green to makeover the entire playground with new slides, monkey bars, and swings, but still pledges to fix the uneven ground, though could not say when.

And the local councilman said he’s not holding his breath.

“They are not going to do it now until the weather gets a little warmer. They did promise they were going to do it but everything with the Parks Department, nothing gets done in a timely fashion, unfortunat­ely,” said Councilman Alan Maisel (D–Marine Park), who is planning a meeting in January to discuss capital improvements to the neighborhood’s parks. “I’m disappointed that it hasn’t been taken care of yet.”

Reach reporter Julianne Cuba at (718) 260–4577 or by e-mail at jcuba@cnglocal.com. Follow her on Twitter @julcuba.
Updated 1:34 am, July 10, 2018
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