Seba Avenue Skate Park is expanding again.Parks recently held a meeting at Councilman Lew Fidlers office with George Broadhead of the Property Owners and John Douglas of GBCares. They were invited to see the new plans and offer their input.
We will be getting a new general asphalt field on the right side of the park more toward Lois. The new asphalt MAY end up being used for roller hockey WITH nets. That’s a huge maybe right now. This won’t be started until Spring of 2012.
Here is where we are now.
Right now as we speak – a Parks contractor is building the comfort station. Then after that is completed Parks is going to expanded the Tot Lot with sprinklers. This is nothing new.
As for the existing Asphalt which is the middle ground for the Skate Park and Tot lot – that will be replaced with swings: 8 Child 8 Young 1 Handicap. Project completion date: Fall of 2012
GerritsenBeach.net Epic Time-line
September 2006 – Construction Begins
October 2006 Groundbreaking Ceremony
June 2007 - Equipment Installed
July 2007 - Skate Park Being used by Kids
August 2007 - Park fences repaired
November 2007 - Seba Park Open
February 2008 - 12 Trees snapped. One Bench removed.
March 2008 - Comfort Station Announced
June 2008 - Trees replaced
July 2008 - Seba Avenue Park covered in graffiti.
August 2008 - graffiti cleaned up.
February 2009 - Drug problem at park peaks.
February 2009 - NYPD narcotics crack down.
March 2009 - Fire Destroys part of park
April 2009 - Repairs started
October 2009 - Sprinklers announced
December 2009 - 20 Benches stolen
December 2009 - Benches found. Newspapers call it biased incident.
January 2010 - Plans for phase II shown Swings announced.
February 2010 - Crackdown on vandalism. Fidler pushes for arrests.
March 2010 - Benches repaired or reinstalled.
May 2010 - Comfort Station construction begins
July 2010 - “Gun” used by outside kids to intimidate locals. Was a BB Gun
September 2010 - New Asphalt Expansion announced. Swings replaned.
For the last several months residents of Noel Avenue have been contacting the city via 311 about a utility pole. Despite months of calls the pole came crashing down damaging property.
The utility pole had been sagging and the wires it supported were slowly dropping. It gotten so bad that neighbors would have to run outside every time someone heard a truck coming to make sure the truck didn’t hit the wires.
The wires had dropped so low they even tried to prop up the wires with lumber to let trucks by.
Last they we had the Fire Department come by to see if they could lift the wires but they couldn’t.
Every call they made Con Ed and Verizon played the blame game. Con-ed said it was Verizons job…Verizon said it was Con Eds job.
It all came crashing down when a Parks Department truck was driving down Noel with a large tree removal boom. The wires hooked onto the truck and then there was a huge shudder – as the wires snapped the pole like a twig.
The the pole was ripped down as well as two electrical panels and the electrical conduit off two homes. There were large sparks which burnt siding. Both houses lost power immediately and had to use generators. No one was hurt and there were no structural fires – luckily.
We blamed Con-Ed for not stepping in and preventing this!
Dr. Johns Playground (PS 277 Playground) has been gushing water onto Gerritsen Avenue all summer.
If you watch the video above – you can see that if the park’s sprinklers are on the water then the Gerritsen Avenue entrance to the playground is flooded. Somehow the main drain next to the sprinklers never reaches a sewer but has to be clogged somewhere. Since water will always find a place to go, it is rapidly flowing the OUT of a drain on the Gerritsen Avenue sidewalk flooding it.
Let’s dive in a little bit more and present more facts about Millennium Development / Bergen Basin Community Development Corp.
Let make this clear: We are not saying these groups are bad or have done anything wrong. However, if they are prepping to come into the community and are already here we should know everything we can about them.
In terms of funds and influence this group does not belong in Gerritsen Beach – we already have our own.
Bergen Basin Community Development Corporation Inc
Doing Business As: Millennium Development
Total Public Support 2004 – 2008
PROVIDING SERVICES FOR SENIORS AND YOUTH, WHICH INCLUDE A RANGE OF ACTIVITIES: CONGREGATIONAL BREAKFASTS, LUNCHES CONGRAGATIONAL WEEKENDS FOR SENIORS, EDUCATION, RECREATION SESSIONS, INFORMATIONAL ASSISTANCE AND CULTURAL ENRICHMENT FOR SENIORS AND YOUTH LIVING IN THE SOUTHERN PART OF BROOKLYN, NEW YORK
Total Revenue $3,664,464
(Most of their money comes from City and State Contracts aka Program Service Revenue)
PROVIDING SERVICES FOR YOUTH AND SENIORS, WHICH INCLUDE A RANGE OF ACTIVITIES AND PROGRAMS: “YOUTH LEADERSHIP”, “OUT OF SCHOOL”, “SUMMER CAMP”, “SPORT GAMES” AND ALSO EDUCATION / RECREATION, INFORMATIONAL ASSISTANCE SESSIONS AND CULTURAL ENRICHMENT FOR KIDS AND SENIORS LIVING IN THE SOUTHERN PART OF BROOKLYN, NY.
Program Service Revenue $961,588
Other Revenue $54,000
Total Revenue $1,015,688
Officers Compensation BBYO 2008: Source IRS 990 Forms
A couple of weeks ago around June 12th, the Parks Department came in and trimmed the weeds on Gerritsen Avenue. For the most part they did a good job, they took their huge tractors and basically just did a straight line from 277 to Seba Avenue Park. As you can see above, they overlooked most of the detail work around the trees and the guardrails.
What makes this worse is they pulled up with their equipment of tractors and weed whackers in front of these high weeds at Seba Avenue Park – and did not trim them. Every time they trim they seem to overlook these details that makes their work and our park look horrible.
To be fair, Parks does a good job. As of right now, the Avenue looks trim and walkable and they have been keeping it that way. They do usually miss some of the the small details around a tree or a section of guardrail, but never this obvious before. What is the Avenue? A mile and a half long? It’s a difficult job but it’s all in the details!
On a side note: The Parks Department is in charge of maintaining the parkland grass now. In years past GBCares was maintaining the parkland for the community. Now they aren’t allowed to used their equipment on city property for the betterment of the community. As far as we know, this arrangement may not change but if this lack of detail work continues we need GBCares back at 100%.
Parks only seems to trim every month or so. If you see a problem in the park call 311 to file a complaint.
June 12th Park Cleanup Crew in Front of the High Weeds they Never Trimmed
The Avenue across from the library is the site of a planned planting of 2,000 tress and 500 shrubs by the NYC Parks Natural Resource Group
If you haven’t noticed the huge brown piles of dead weeds and trees on the avenue this is whats been going on. The parks department came in to spray all of the phragmities and clear out the dead debris.
The large piles you see in the pictures are piles of dumped broken cement blocks. I wonder if they will have to remove those blocks if they plan on planting 2,000 trees in that spot.
I think it is safe to say Gerritsen Beach has an interesting relationship with NYC Parks Department. You would know this if you ever walked your dog, flown an R/C airplane, volunteered for GBCares, went for a walk or even more heavy handed like: built/dug a fort, had a keg/jungle juice party, played paintball, lit a bon fire, rode a quad or dirtbike, or did any other unscrupulous behavior.
The community and the community groups biggest issue is with the Dirtbikes and Quads. They say they dangerous for other motorists, property and pedestrians because the ATV’s (quads and dirtbikes) are usually speeding up and down the courts and avenue uninsured and unlicensed without helmets. While the community kicks and screams to the police department and parks the community usually take an unofficial position of out of site out of mind, meaning stay back weeds, where they would become a Parks Enforcement problem.
In a bit of irony, There was a recent article in the NYTimes highlighting how the Parks Department is training some employees on proper ATV handling. It described how they were kinda-sorta were putting birds in danger in the process. A Parks worker mentioned they saw a killdeer plover nest in the area. He said, “Two of her eggs are broken. I hope we didn’t do it.” Killdeer plovers are ground-nesting birds!
Let’s say this and please pay attention! The community groups are calling for more enforcement for these ATV’s, Councilman Lew Fidler wants more enforcement everyone wants to see more enforcement because of the money being pumped into Seba Avenue Park. More importantly, There is a new Parks Enforcement Captain and there is a new Parks Manager, they both have power they need to flex and they both have a renewed interest in our area specifically enforcement. They will be meeting with the 63rd Precinct to see how they can better step up enforcement and both parks and the NYPD will stepping up their enforcement with the nicer weather. The nicer weather is more or less here and people – maybe you – will be using the back weeds more often. You need to be aware that parks will be looking to summons you, then when you hit the street the police will be waiting for you.
You may have noticed a difference in the weeds across from the library. The Parks Department came in today to clear out non-native invasive trees for a scheduled planting in October. They plan on planting 2000 native trees and 500 native shrubs.
They have been spraying the phragmities and will continue to to keep them at bay.
There was a recent meeting about White Island – This is What is Happening with Mau Mau Now
Lets backtrack a little bit with this project and clarify that are two separate projects with White Island Mau-Mau area going on right now. One is the White Island project which is a New York City Parks project mandated by the DEC and the other is a Army Core project to rebuild the marsh land. The army core project is behind the nature center and the White Island project is what we are going to be talking about.
The goal of the White island project is to create a grassland habitat for about 4 or 5 species of birds that were forced out with the Erksine Street Shopping Center. It was part of the agreement back in 1994 that another habitat would be created on White Island so the birds that were displaced would be able to nest somewhere. $3 million dollars was allocated for White Island according to that plan. Overall ,this is a $15 million dollar project.
Here is what has already happened in Phase I
They have already removed the phragmites with the weed killer roundup.
They have clearing of the island of all trees, which was for an accurate survey, as well as to make room for the sand they brought in.
They have brought in 150,000 cubic yards of sand, which is waiting to be spread out onto the island.
The sand was placed into containment zones, and not dumped too high so the wind would not blow the sand into the creek.
The footprint of the island has not been increased.
What still has to happen aka Phase II
They still have to bring in two ton cement stones called “Armor Stone” to place on the steeper parts of the island to contain the island. They also have to bring in environmentally friendly Articulated Concrete Blocks and Cellular Confinement Systems to help with earth control and allow vegetation to grow on top iof it.
Heres the real story.
This is a project that NYC Park is “Duty Bound” to complete with final approval by DEC. The community is pushing for the bridge, boat debris & major debris cleanup, as well as the shore sand to be cleaned. Although the horizontal pieces of the bridge and major debris are added to the project, it does not seem like there is a full commitment from parks or DEC to get this done how the community wants it. Cleaning the White Island shore is a different story. Currently it is not part of the project and will most likely have to be a seperate project. At one point parks said that to use marine engineers to clean said would be a waste of resources, volunteers would be better off cleaning the sand. The sand which is littered with glass, floating garbage, and also garbage from that leaked out of the island is a legit problem that th community wants to see addresses.
Side note: I won’t forget than the fact that I was told by Assemblyman Alan Maisel (again) not to attend the meeting because people would walk out, and I won’t forget the fact that I was told not to take pictures or record audio/video. You can safely say that I did whatever anyone else did in the room, which was take notes.
GBCares in cooperation with local mural artist Joe Indart have created an artful message to help curb litter, ATV’s and dogs!
Joe Indart is no stranger to Gerritsen Beach he has also painted the mural at marine pharmacy, the PS 277 wall, the Larry Veilng scoreboard, a sign for Ice Cream U Scream, worked for the Tamaqua, as well as a ton of other murals for firehouses and other neighborhoods.
Shortly after the illegal dumping story GerritsenBeach.net posed the question of the security of the gates. After all it was most likely how someone would be able to drive a vehicle with a dumpster back there. We were able to find out that the locks have not been changed for a good number of years and that there was no documentation of who had the keys at any given time.
GBCares changed the locks and then gave Parks the copies. Don’t worry this isn’t one of those story that knocks an organization. Parks is completely fine with this.
GBCares is giving away trees in conjunction with the MillionTreesNYC program.
Although GBCares did not respond in time for this story to go to press. According to the MillionTreeNYC Program the Trees can be planted on private properties such as front and backyards, commercial properties, community gardens and faith-based centers.
If you want to pick one up through GBCares your going to have to hurry. Send an email to Dave Stevens at: firstname.lastname@example.org
After speaking with Mr. Lawrence Majors our “newish” Parks Manager, he is new to our park but came from Sheepshead/Brighton/Coney Parks area. He stated that GerritsenBeach.net’s pictures and coverage made them aware of the situation and they plan to remove the debris.
Although as of this time, they have not physically gone back-weeds to look, they are aware of what and how much debris is back there from the pictures. They are planning to “investigate” and remove the debris after the area drys out. They will go back there with a few front end loaders and containers to remove the debris.
The investigation goes like this: When they get back there, if they can find a consistent address in the debris, they may be able to issue a summons. However, if they investigate and the person moved they are out of luck. In terms of finding these disgusting people I think our chances are low.
As for the keys…There are approximately 5 Gates that lead back weeds(not including Burnett): Channel, Soccer Field, Gotham, Cryus, Seba. Park’s Manager Lawrence Major’s plans on changing the locks and keys ASAP and to change them every so often, they have not been changed in approximately 5 years. When asked about who is in possession of the keys, so this wont happen again, only the FDNY and Park he said are in possession. It must be noted that the Vollies and the members of the GBCares board also have keys to open these gates and they should be included when the locks/keys are changed out.
As soon as the Parks Press office returns our phone calls we will be putting up more information.