Part of Oval to Get Facelift
By JORDAN MOSS
What's Getting Done...
And What's Not?
western section of Williamsbridge Oval Park in Norwood will be getting a
long awaited makeover made possible by $1,500,000 appropriated by
Councilwoman June Eisland over the last two years. The work will include
resurfacing the tennis courts and addressing the erosion on the western
slopes of the park. Some of the five-sided stones called hex blocks will
be replaced on paths behind the courts, and the stone wall and steps
joining the upper and lower level of that section of the park will also be
Parks Commissioner Bill Castro said however that a comprehensive
restoration of the Oval's paths, fences and entrances would take about $5
million over three years, and would depend largely on additional City
Council funding not currently in the pipeline.
there have been recent improvements to the park including new playgrounds,
reconstruction of a small portion of the fencing surrounding the park, and
renovations on the park house, including a new roof and windows, Castro
said the Oval is a large park that "did not get any real work done to it
for many years," which is why it still has a long way to go before it is
Groarke, president of the Mosholu Woodlawn South Community Coalition,
said, that after meeting with Castro and Eisland last June, her group
thought that the crumbling concrete and stonework supporting the fencing
around the entire park was going to be repaired. (Disclosure: Groarke is
married to Norwood News editor Jordan Moss.) About 150 feet of the
fencing work was done recently, but Castro said there is no money
available to do the rest of the Oval perimeter fencing now.
Cooke, executive director of the Parks Council, a nonprofit group that is
spearheading a citywide campaign to get the city to set aside one percent
of the city budget for park maintenance, said the Oval is an example of
why the city needs to dedicate money for maintenance in parks rather than
just capital projects.
the Parks Department had one percent of the city operating budget, then
the borough commissioner would have adequate resources for maintenance,
security and programs for the Oval, Seton Falls Park, St. James Park and
all the playgrounds in between," Cooke said.
patrons in wealthier communities have been able to fill the gap with
private fundraising, she said. "The needs of communities that don't have
that kind of private discretionary wealth are left on hold," Cooke said. "We
are hopeful that in this summer's elections New Yorkers in communities
throughout the city will join us in telling candidates that this policy
has gone too far, it's unacceptable and there has to be reform."
Oval work will get under way in July and continue over a nine-month
period. The budget for the project is $1.2 million. The remaining
$300,000, from the $1.5 million appropriation, is for soft costs like
architectural designs and cost overruns, Castro said.
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