NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Old age and deferred maintenance have led to some serious problems at New York City parks.
The parks department kicked off the outdoor pool season by renovating Fisher pool in East Elmhurst. The pool is one of five newly renovated pools featuring colorful paint, new furniture, and cabana-style shade structures.
The Queens facility hadn’t had a major renovation since it was built in the 1970’s. A new report released Tuesday finds that many of the city’s parks are overdue for significant repairs.
“A lot of them have serious infrastructure problems from retaining walls to drainage systems that are in serious states of disrepair.” Jonathan Bowles of the Center for an Urban Future (CUF) told CBS2’s Elise Finch. “We’ve got to be investing in basic maintenance or we’re going to see things break down the same way they’ve been breaking down in the subways.”
A year-long study by CUF found that the average city park is 73 years old; 86 years old in Manhattan. CUF says that New York has nearly 20,000 acres of parkland, but employs just one gardener for every 133 acres – far less than other major cities.
“Look at the stairs here. They’re decrepit, they’re falling apart,” Ronnie Roberts of Hell’s Kitchen said.
The study finds that New York has under-invested in basic park maintenance for years. As a result, the infrastructure is falling apart and off limits to park goers in some places.
New York City parks commissioner Mitchell Silver says there is a renewed commitment to updating the local parks however, progress has been slow and may only be able to address one park at a time.