November 17, 2009: 2009, Issue 47
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Today’s news:

Keane Square park bench returned to original position

Someone has chosen a rather unique way to express his or her displeasure at the new changes to Keane Square.

In response to safety and quality of life concerns at Keane Square, the Pelham Bay Merchants Association, Community Board 10 and Councilman Jimmy Vacca have been working on ways to improve the area.

The first step in the planned improvements was to change the old wooden benches that faced inward on the square. According to the Department of Parks and Recreation, they spend $ 4,000 to replace the old benched with four new World’s Fair benches. The new benches include armrests and are installed to face the street.

“It was either switch them around or take them out and I was one of the people who voted to switch them around and keep the benches,” said Sherry Scanlon, president of the PBMA.

Several weeks after the switch, someone opposing the new design took matters into their own hands, turning around one of the benches.

According to Dolores Mirto, a local resident who often visits Keane Square, this is a clear sign of the frustration some residents felt about the change.

“The benches are extremely uncomfortable and almost punitive, practically on the street. You have people passing and stepping on your feet,” said Mirto. “Every ones back is to each other so you’re craning your neck to cpmverse. You can’t see the monument or the flowerbed behind you. It’s totally perverse.”

Though it is unknown who made the switch, the bench bolts were removed and then put back in place once the bench was repositioned.

“The community will have a lovely park in the spring, with blooming flowers and plants and the benches facing outward. The war memorial will be highlighted and it will be a very very pretty space,” said Ken Kearn, district manager of Community Baord 10. “If people would be patient and wait, they will see the beautiful resource they will be receiving.”

Parks expects to have the bench returned to an outward position this week.

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