NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -A state park in Brooklyn is closed down as part of a major renovation project, but residents are not happy about it.
They complain they weren’t warned about the closure, and that it couldn’t come at a worse time.READ MORE: Former Aides Karen Hinton, Lindsey Boylan Accuse Gov. Andrew Cuomo Of Bullying, Sexual Harassment
As CBS2’s Dave Carlin reports, this is just the beginning of what could be a six month long, multimillion dollar facelift for the park, which used to be called East River State Park, as it begins a new era named after Johnson, a civil rights pioneer who was a transgender woman of color.
Many residents who applaud that honor and even like some of the planned improvements are angry the park is shut down in its entirety with what they say was little warning and barely any public input.
No heads up said Raffaelo Van Couten, who has lived in Williamsburg for 20 years.
“There was no communication. You gave us no choice,” he said.
“It’s really disturbing. It’s just, it’s insane,” one woman said.READ MORE: 6-Year-Old Boy Struck And Killed While Attempting To Board School Bus With Brother In Brooklyn
“It is a little bit more than we can handle as a community at this time,” said Lisa Bloodgood, co-chair of the nonprofit group North Brooklyn Neighbors.
North Brooklyn Neighbors sent a letter to state leaders demanding a pause in the construction, especially in the pandemic.
“We need places to go as a community,” Bloodgood said.
She says, in a pandemic, amenities including the new park house with bathrooms, classrooms and a large mural to pay tribute to Johnson don’t have to be built all at once.
Losing not just the park but his livelihood is longtime Williamsburg resident Mark Nagawiecki, who for years ran the park’s main concession and says the state abruptly kicked him out.
“I have to take down my structure, remove everything in short notice,” he said.
CBS2 reached out via phone and email to both the governor’s office and the state parks commissioner asking if the construction could be altered, to be done in phases. We have not heard back.MORE NEWS: GameStop Shares Surge Nearly 104% In One Day
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