LINDENHURST, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) – Funds pledged to fix a deteriorating Long Island park remain in limbo.
Three years have passed since the community won a grant to upgrade outdated equipment in order to make their park handicapped accessible and safe for everyone. But as CBS2’s Jennifer McLogan reported, bickering in Albany may have stalled the check.
The Fusaro family, of Lindenhurst, is fighting for a fix. It’s been a decade since their tiny neighborhood park fell into disrepair.
“For years here, we’ve been trying to upgrade this park. The sand here is terrible, the equipment is outdated,” Christopher Fusaro said.
Homeowners lobbied for and eventually won a grant issued by the State Dormitory Authority three years ago. The organization administers park funding and pledged to rehabilitate the deteriorating Lt. Edward Weckerle Memorial Park, where there are rusted swings, splitting seats, an obsolete jungle gym, and trucked-in road sand.
“It’s uneven and it’s difficult for people to use with a stroller, and certainly if you have a wheelchair or any sort of mobility disability, you can’t navigate your way into this park,” Kristin Fusaro said.
But the promises remain unfulfilled — the check for $100,000 has yet to arrive. And the village is restless.
“I need the park done. It’s been three years. We’re tired of it,” Lindenhurst Mayor Mike Lavorata said. “I jokingly said, the money is languishing in purgatory and I want to bring it back.”
Others blame the delay on State House in-fighting. The GOP says wheels sometimes turn slowly and the project is moving forward. But Democrats claim no action was taken by the Republican majority.
“I don’t understand what the point of all this is in the end. If the money is available… there’s no reason for it,” Democratic New York State Sen. John Brooks, of Seaford, told McLogan. “If it’s done, get them the money so we can move on to the next thing.”
Meanwhile, residents have started a petition.
“Six hundred and 50 signatures in under a week or so… We haven’t really been able to get any information… Without that money, we really can’t do much of anything to this park,” said Kristin Fusaro.
A Dormitory Authority spokesperson told CBS2 it still has not received the paperwork. Once it does, final approval from the state department of the budget is needed before the $100,000 grant can be released.
The GOP senate spokesman in Albany said the paperwork has been completed and the majority leader recently signed off on the project.