NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Residents in one Bronx neighborhood are questioning why there are no funds to develop their local park, left empty and gated.
“They said they were going to do a community park a long time ago and they haven’t done anything. I’ve been here 10 years and it’s been closed since,” resident Michael Nieves said.
Cpl. Fischer Park, on Nelson Avenue between 170th and 169th streets, sits vacant, fenced off for more than a decade. The half-acre green space is meant to honor WWII veteran Irwin A. Fischer.
As CBS2’s Meg Baker reported, neighboring residents want to see the land put to good use—especially for children who are left to play out front on the sidewalks and streets.
“Now the kids in the building here, they come outside to play out front of the building and the super doesn’t accept that so it would be nice to have a park here for them,” Nieves said.
They say other parks in the area are too dangerous to go to.
“Up the block, that’s the worst park you can go to, go to Nelson Park up the block, and that’s dangerous,” one resident said.
The parks department has owned the property since the mid-1990s, maintaining the park by picking up trash and mowing the lawn.
Parks department First Deputy Commissioner Liam Kavanagh said the land has gone undeveloped due to lack of funds, but hopes through Mayor de Blasio’s new community parks initiative that things could change.
“There is no specific funding for Cpl. Fischer Park right now, but Cpl. Fischer is in an area that we call a community initiative zone. We are focusing on neighborhoods like Highbridge, to improve the parks, to provide more access to open space, recreation opportunities and basically improve the quality of life and communities,” Kavanagh said.
Bronx Community Board Member Jose Rodriguez wants the park opened.
“There are priorities throughout the city of New York and this particular parcel of land is not a high priority. But that being said, there’s a new administration, we have a new commissioner, we have a new initiative that’s being implemented,” he said.
The parks department said it is open to hearing from neighbors on how to transform the land.
The department is set to meet with the board in January, sending staffers out to determine what challenges would be involved in improving the space.
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