LINDENHURST, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — A Long Island park named in honor of a local World War I veteran has fallen on hard times.
Now, as CBS2’s Jennifer McLogan reported, residents are trying to kickstart a cleanup effort.
Weckerle Park, a historic suburban neighborhood park, has sadly seen better days. Scattered litter, broken glass, discarded syringes, and drug residue are all being collected by Lindenhurst parents on any given day.
The Fusaro family lives just down the block.
“The idea of a small local park like this is to bring people out of their homes, meet each other outside of school” said Kristin Fusaro. “It’s not living up to its purpose.”
Fusaro is leading a playground restoration petition drive that in the past week has caught the eyes and ears of more than 600 residents who say they want to help.
Eagle Scout Dominick Santiago used to play at the park when he was younger.
“The swings are all rusted,” he said.
Now, he’s planning his Life Scout Badge project as a park cleanup volunteer.
“I have a 7-year-old disabled child who is in a wheelchair,” said Natalie Negron.
Negron said the park is not functional. She said it’s nearly impossible to control her son’s wheelchair in the all-sand surface.
Strollers can’t be pushed, benches are deteriorating and families who live around the triangle-shaped park say they want safe rubber matting.
“It is the sand and dirt and the filth that is inside it — a real deterrent to bring your kids here,” said Nicole Albano.
But what hurts most, say the Fusaros, is the fear of losing the link to a local hero: Lt. Edward Weckerle.
“It’s sad because the park was named after a World War I veteran, and especially today, on Memorial Day, as a village we should be doing more to honor his memory,” Fusaro said.
The mayor said he is listening and pledges to take action, hoping to ask for $7,500 from the state to fund the village parks.
Weckerle Park was dedicated in 1958 and celebrated as a meeting place for local families.