2008-06-26 / Other News

Residents Complain About Lack Of Upkeep At Fresh Creek Preserve

By Marianna Hernandez

Maria Garrett (right)and her daughter show photos of "terrible"conditions near their home close to Fresh Creek Preserve. Marianna HernandezMaria Garrett (right)and her daughter show photos of "terrible"conditions near their home close to Fresh Creek Preserve. Marianna Hernandez The serenity at Fresh Creek Wildlife Refuge and Nature Preserve was not matched at last week's Community Board 18 monthly meeting when some nearby residents complained about the site's poor conditions. Some of the gripes about insufficient maintenance included an overgrowth of weeds and deteriorating conditions.

Local resident Maria Garrett brought a large poster with photographs of the Creek and her residence to prove her point. She said she was disgusted that her "quality of life" has been affected by a lack of sufficient upkeep at the preserve.

"We need something to be done to improve the situation, we can't live like this. This isn't what my tax dollars paid for," said Garrett showing the pictures to the audience.

Garrett and other residents suggested the Community Board write a letter to inform elected officials about the situation. The Nature Preserve comes under the jurisdiction of two agencies - the New York City Parks Department and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.

CB18 District Manager Dorothy Turano told Garrett to reach out to the elected officials if she wants anything to get done. (See a letter to the editor on this subject in this issue.)

Nature lovers, bird watchers and anyone looking to enjoy the beauty of the salt marsh environment frequent the Fresh Creek Nature Preserve, which opened to the public in November 1996. The public park's boundaries are Flatlands Avenue to the north, the Belt Parkway to the south, East 108th Street to the west and to the east by Louisiana Avenue.

Another heated issue discussed at the June 18 meeting was the design for a new schoolyard at P.S. 207, on Fillmore Avenue in Marine Park. Local residents have expressed concerns over the schoolyard, claiming it will attract unruly behavior from local youths and exacerbate the current conditions of the yard.

Members from the Marine Park Civic Association met with the school officials and representatives from the Trust for Public Land at which time they presented their concerns. Since then the design has been altered from the original version, but the community is still not satisfied.

The new design calls for two removable basketball hoops on Coleman Street and a smaller, removable hoop for younger children. The inner yard will be fenced in and another fence will be erected to separate the inner from the outer yard.

Nearby resident Sarah Arut agreed that the schoolyard is a good idea, but that the money for it can be better utilized to improve education. She also pointed out the conditions of the yard are "horrific." She said that adolescents have been cited for unruly behavior, throwing beer bottles throughout the yard, cutting the fence, etc…

The schoolyard initiative, which is sponsored by the Trust for Public Land, is an initiative to improve infrastructure and increase space, as part of the Plan NYC initiative.

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