When it comes to parks, you gotta have friends
By Adam Wisnieski
If there’s a park that could use a friend, it’s Vinmont Veteran Park.
Nestled between Riverdale and Mosholu avenues at West 254th Street in North Riverdale, it has needed work for years and now two Community Board 8 members are spearheading a Friends of Vinmont Park to keep it looking its best.
After years of delays, last year the city finally finished reconstructing the park, including major renovations to the home of the North Riverdale Baseball Leageue, Sid Augarten Field. Little Leaguers will get their first chance to play on the new field this spring.
But getting that to happen has been a feat.
The field got so bad that Little League tournaments had to be relocated because of safety concerns. In 2007, Bronx Borough President Adolfo Carrion and Councilman Oliver Koppell each allocated funds to fix the field. Since then, each office repeatedly upped its contributions — $1.8 million total — to meet constantly rising cost.
Unlike most Friends groups, which exist to raise money for groups or organizations, the people creating the Friends of Vinmont Park want to organize volunteers to maintain the neighborhood’s little patch of green.
“We’re trying to figure out a way to respond to the constant cuts to maintenance in the Parks Department,” Community Board 8 Parks & Recreation Committee chair Bob Bender said.
Mr. Bender said he’s been working with Community Board 8 member Laura Spalter, who lives across from the park, to reach out to organizations and neighbors who might be interested in lending a hand. The idea is to expand It’s My Park Day — a Parks initiative to get residents into nearby parks to clean them up once or twice a year — to a year-round volunteering program. CB 8’s Parks Committee plans to sponsor a meeting in March to bring together residents and organizations interested in helping out.
“This is as good as this park is going to look. It’s just been renovated and we want to try to keep it to this standard,” Mr. Bender said.
Keywordsvinmont veteran park, parks department, bob bender, friends of vinmont park, community board 8, sid augarten field