Suggestions for the 2024 budget and a presentation on Phase 2 of the Power Playground reconstruction were on the agenda at the October 19th meeting of Community Board 18 (CB18), held at the board office, 1097 Bergen Avenue, and virtually.
Each year, community members, civic and block associations submit budget requests for review by CB18 for inclusion in the Capital and Expense Budget. Chairman of the Budget Committee Terri Cadet-Donald said that there are 40 capital budget requests for Fiscal Year (FY) 2024, five of which were already completed for FY 2023. Of the 35 items not completed, Partnow explained that the reasons range from “further study needed,” the “area needs to be investigated by the appropriate agencies” or “funding is unavailable.”
Items not completed in FY 2023 are resubmitted for FY 2024, leaving room for five new items.
Cadet-Donald said the board would like to add the following requests: 1) a comfort station in Amersfort Park, 2) stop signs with lights around them in 50 designated “hot spots” and 3) a much-needed stop sign on the corner of Avenue H and East 45th Street, where a couple of restaurants are causing double and triple parking. She asked board members to submit “hot spots” where they believe the lighted stop signs are needed.
Next, she asked for suggestions for the remaining two capital items. Some responses included installing cameras near known dumping grounds and adding fluorescent paint on blocks that have speed bumps, which would make them more visible during nighttime hours.
Completed projects include the reconstruction of several roadways to prevent flooding, buckling and hazardous road conditions:
- East 38th Street from Kings Highway to Flatlands Avenue (reconstruction of the roadway, catch basins and sanitary sewers)
- Flatlands 7th Street, from East 105th Street to East 108th Street (reconstruction of catch basins and sanitary sewers)
- East 56th Street, from Avenues J to K, and Avenue N, from East 85th Street to Remsen Avenue (reconstruction of the roadways)
Requests for FY 2024 include upgrades to parks, such as the reconstruction of the Marine Park Oval, baseball fields and playground; replacing the rusting Salt Marsh footbridge, adding bocce/pickleball courts and a dog run in McGuire Park and installing better security lighting in Canarsie Park.
Other capital item requests include the renovation and refurbishment of the Breukelen Community Center, selecting a new site for the 63rd Precinct and installing an elevated overpass for pedestrians at Flatbush Avenue and Avenue U, as well as safety fences on the south side of Avenue U, to improve safety at the dangerous intersection.
Jim Morris, Director of Capital Projects for NYC Parks, and Mike Madden, Landscape Architect for NYC Parks, gave a presentation on Phase 2 of the reconstruction of Power Playground, a one-half acre park located at the corner of Utica Avenue and Avenue N. The $3 million project was funded by the City Council, including Councilwoman Mercedes Narcisse and former Councilman Alan Maisel, who is now on staff at Assemblywoman Jaime Williams’ office.
The park has handball and basketball courts, a multipurpose play area and a very underused bocce court, which is in disrepair.
“Our goals for this project are to activate some of the underused areas within the park, “Madden explained. “We want to increase all of our opportunities for active fitness, improve the sight lines in the park and also improve our gathering spaces and make them more inviting.”
Madden referred to a Community Input meeting held on May 19th where residents expressed a desire for more green spaces, additional security lighting and active spaces, including a beginner to intermediate skate area and a fitness area.
Plans also include renovating the existing basketball court, adding a shaded seating area with game tables and a contemporary adult fitness space. “Activating the space with a lot of different programming is one of the best ways to use the site and keep it active,” Madden said.
As part of Phase 2, unhealthy trees will be removed and new trees will be added. Madden said that the design for Phase 1 (which includes the multipurpose asphalt area) is complete and that Phase 3 is a “hopeful future phase that is not currently funded.”
In other news, CB18 District Manager Sue Ann Partnow said that the decrepit, graffiti-filled building at 1925 Flatbush Avenue, between Avenue L and Kings Highway, is finally going to be demolished this week, and a Popeyes will be built in its place. And, the Bergen construction project is coming to an end. “The staging area is being dismantled and the last street, Bergen Avenue, will be leveled and repaved by November,” Partnow advised.
She attended an emergency meeting with the Borough President regarding the transition of all community board meetings from virtual and hybrid back to in-person meetings. A decision has not been made on the subject.
The next meeting of CB18 will take place on Wednesday, November 17th.