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Vandalism diminishes parkland’s beauty

Plans for renovation and security at Bicentennial Veterans Memorial Park continue with local organizations working together to prevent the ongoing vandalism diminishing the park’s beauty.

On Monday, April 13, Department of Parks & Recreation personnel met with representatives of Councilman James Vacca and Senator Jeff Klein and the Throggs Neck Girls Softball League, Bicentennial Veterans Memorial Park Committee, and Edgewater Park Owner Cooperative at the Community Board 10 Parks Committee meeting.

“I think the meeting went well. Plans were discussed pertaining to what they [Parks] are going to be doing,” said Pat Devine of the Bicentennial Veterans Memorial Park Committee.

The representatives were in agreement that the 7-foot steel fence, apart of the $ 1.5 million allocated for the capital project, would be placed along the southern boundary near Edgewater, without any entrances to secure both properties.

“We are going to support and help each other with some proactive measures in combating this year in, year out, problem and struggle,” said Keith Freider, president of Edgewater Park Owner Cooperative. “We take vandalism and other unlawful acts very seriously.”

Wanting to ensure all parties involved benefit from the alterations Councilman Jimmy Vacca will monitor the project’s progress.

In a letter to Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe, Vacca requested “the opportunity to meet with representatives…to discuss how we could proceed with this project in a way that not only results in a beautiful park renovation but also ensures any improvements we make will be preserved for many years to come.”

Parks is estimating the capital project could begin in November, but the Throggs Neck Girls Softball League is looking for solutions to the problems that began before their season officially started.

Within the last two weeks president of the league, Rachel Mazza has arrived at the field to find graffiti and drinking paraphernalia.

“The season starts on Saturday, June 27, but the kids are already out there practicing and such,” said Mazza. “Parks has been very good about cleaning up the park as soon as I call.”

In their immediate goals, the league hopes to bring the portable bathroom back into the park in an enclosed setting, after it was removed due to vandalism, away from the service road.

“Parks is open to the league’s proposal to provide Port-o-Sans if the facilities can be maintained by the company without damaging the park,” said a spokesperson for Parks.

“We were recently informed that the Port-o-Sans company’s maintenance crews would need to drive a truck to the location to clean the facilities, and this is not feasible because it would do damage to the park.”

According to Parks, options for the security camera, funded by Klein, and the Barberry bushes to be placed along the fence, funded by Klein and Vacca, are still being explored.

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