City offers greener plan for Ewen Park
By Sarina Trangle
In response to community concerns, the Department of Parks and Recreation presented a revised proposal for renovations to Ewen Park at Community Board 8’s Parks and Recreation Committee meeting Monday.
Parks’ new plan calls for replacing one of the two basketball courts at Ewen Park with trees and greenery and adding additional plants around the portion of the park where a toddler playground is slated for construction.
The move was meant to appease residents who spoke against the project at the April community board meeting. At that point, Parks was planning to spend $912,000 allocated by Councilman Oliver Koppell to renovate the surfaces and fences on both basketball courts, along with adding a drinking fountain, sprinkler and benches near the tot playground.
Critics said the project did not address erosion and ongoing water leaks in the park, which straddles Riverdale and Kingsbridge at the base of Riverdale and Johnson avenues near West 231st and 232nd streets. Neighbors worried the renovations would refurbish a location that already attracts underage drinkers.
After Parks presented its plan Monday evening, the crowd of more than 20 who gathered in the Manhattanville Health Care Center posed adversarial questions to Parks’ representatives.
A few people accused Parks of not democratizing the use of taxpayer money, noting the department previously agreed to hold a scoping meeting, where residents would have met with Parks’ officials at Ewen Park to discuss details of the agency’s plans.
Parks Committee Chair Bob Bender said he contacted the department about scheduling that meeting, but was told the department determined it received sufficient feedback at the April community board meeting and knew what neighbors wanted.
Apparently, Parks was wrong.
“I feel like I’m in the twilight zone,” said Liz Weiss, who lives near Ewen Park. “When we have a safety issue, it’s got to take precedence,”
KeywordsEwen Park, reconstruction, tot playground, basketball courts, Oliver Koppell, Sarina Trangle,