2003-05-22 / Other News

Fidler Announces Parks Dept. Plan For Canarsie Park Rehab

By Jason Medina
Fidler Announces Parks Dept. Plan For Canarsie Park Rehab

Fidler Announces Parks Dept. Plan For Canarsie Park Rehab

By Jason Medina

A $25 million five-year plan to rehabilitate Canarsie Park, including the formerly controversial compost site, has been submitted by the New York City Parks Department to City Councilman Lew Fidler, who made the announcement at last week’s United Canarsie South Civic Association meeting.

Fidler said funding for the proposal is still uncertain due to the city’s current budget crisis, but added, "Maybe I’m putting my neck on the line for telling everyone about a project that is not yet funded, but I’m doing it because I intend to get it funded."

According to the Councilman, the Department of Sanitation still owes some of their fund for restoring the site and the Parks Department has plans of its own. Neither department could be reached for comment.

Fidler promised to present the full proposal at a later date so the community could give its input and feedback about Canarsie’s needs. He did, however, mention some preliminary details, which includes rehabilitation and landscaping of playgrounds, ball fields, cricket fields, Paerdegat Basin, as well as new fitness park, senior music pavilion and nature trails.

"This is one of the most aggressive, broad and ambitious park reconstruction and rehabilitation plans the city has ever seen," noted Fidler.

Fidler explained that the city has spent less than ten million dollars over the last five years on Prospect Park rehabilitation projects. "I made it clear to them (the Parks Department) that I didn’t want a paint job and new grass because this is an important park in Brooklyn," said Fidler. "If you look at its acreage, it’s a huge park that deserves the city’s attention."

The compost site has been at the center of controversy ever since it was established four years ago in a secret pact between the Sanitation Department and the Parks Department to handle dumping of Christmas trees after the 1998 holiday season. After pressure from elected officials and civic activists, the site was closed for further composting last summer.

Last October, Fidler announced that Sanitation Commissioner John Doherty planned to replace the compost site with a grassy field. Fidler and community residents rejected the idea, demanding rehabilitation of the compost site and Canarsie Beach Park.

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