Friday, May 4, 2012

Morningside Park Update

Melissa Chu attends the Operations meetings as a part of Harlem4Kids. There are her notes.

The electricians are continuing to work on getting the waterfall operational again. All the parts are in and they expect it to be operational next week.

The company that installed the 116th st playground tiles is being pushed to replace them as quickly as possible.

Grass is being eroded next to the 116th st playground. Please try not to cut through this area or play on this area with cleats. There will be signage and a range fence put up here to help the grass heal.

Morningside's Green Acre requests were approved, allowing the welcome gardens to be upgraded.

A lot of fencing in the 110-114 area will be taken down as these areas have been established. Please continue to keep out of the flower beds to allow them to continue to flourish.

There were a large amount of volunteer groups in the park during the month of April. Columbia Outreach, Starbucks, Girl Scouts, Latter Day Saints were just some of the groups mentioned that did wonderful work bringing in volunteers to help clean up the park. This was much appreciated! Some of the projects completed by volunteers were helping to clear weed trees from the area overlooking the baseball field, painting benches, and planting around the 112th and 113th section of the park. The park is actively trying to link up with more corporations and volunteer groups. Budget cuts make staffing tight. Volunteers allow more projects to be completed in the park.

The parks department will be doing a sweep through the entire park for any dead trees or dead tree limbs to be tagged for removal by forestry. FYI- If you are ever aware of any trees or branches that need to be
removed, please call 311 and report it. You can also email me and I will send the info to the park's manager for you.

The water fountain at 116th is now working.

There was a discussion about the famous hawk couple that are now in fledgling season in the park and the use of rat poison to control rats in the park. The Commissioner will ask the Health Department who have experts in this area to advise the park about the situation. To control the rats currently, they are emphasizing getting the garbage out of the park every day (not allowing it to sit overnight) and using low secondary kill bait (the use of this bait will be scaled back during the hawk's fledgling season). Unfortunately many people living outside the park use rat bait that is not low secondary kill which can effect the hawks.

Park Enforcement are gearing up for more visitors in the park as the weather turns warmer and will increase their presence on major weekends.

Please don't use golf clubs in the park. This is against park regulations and tears up the grass.

The lighting for the dog run is expected to be fixed this month.

Police Report for the park

There were three reported robberies in the park. These are the first crimes reported this year in the park. Tuesday, March 20th a 60 year old man was robbed around the 119th area. The man implied that he had a gun and robbed him of his possessions.

Sunday April 22nd near 120th and Morningside Dr. another person was also robbed of their cell phone by someone who put their hand in their pocket and simulated that they had a gun. Monday April 30th a couple was approached by 5 men. One produced a gun and demanded their property. This last incident is part of a citywide pattern. There have been incidents like this last one in several areas of the city in various precincts. (I was trying to take notes as fast as I could during this portion of the meeting, but I couldn't write down all the details that the officer provided. I may not have gotten all the details down correctly.)

What is being done to help prevent crime in the park?

-The police will continue to maintain a strong presence in and around the park. They will be coordinating with the Park Enforcement Officers. -Please let them know about any crime you see in the park (including drug use). You can call call Officer Harper directly at 212-678-1301. Give him the time, date and description of the incident.
-The new security camera donated by Friends of Morningside has been installed near the 116th playground. The settings are still being tweaked, but it will cover the stairs and most of the playground. Hopefully this
will help to deter crime.
-Please stay out of the park after park hours. The police are trying to deter crime at night and will give you a summons if you enter the park after hours.

The 123rd st playground renovation expects that construction will begin by July or August if everything continues on schedule.

May 25th Ride the Challenge will be beginning their cross-country bicycle ride starting from Morningside Park.

The Farmer's Market is due to start Memorial Day weekend and will include a fish vendor.

Twenty heritage rose bushes are being donated to the park through the Borough Presidents initiative. They are expected to arrive soon.

May 19th will be It's My Park Day in Morningside Park. Four truckloads of wood chips will be delivered to the dog run. Dottie from the dog run is looking for volunteers that day to help with the chips.

Concerns I brought up for moms from Harlem4Kids

Shading at the 116th playground- A big tree was lost in this area which was meant to provide shade. The Commissioner will look into the issue further.

Broken Tiles- The company has agreed to replace them. The parks department is pushing them to do this quickly.

Bar over the slide at the 110st playground- They are looking into whether the bar can be padded.

Any renovations planned for the 110th or 113th playground. - A new safety surface will be put on the 110th playground, but no plans are scheduled beyond that.

Scooters on the ramp inside the 116th playground - It is against park policy that scooters be used inside the playground.

Restrooms near 117th playground never seem to be opened.- The new park's manager will make an effort to open them from 7AM to 5:30 PM when the last grounds person leaves. They will try to keep the restrooms open later (until 7:30PM) as summer approaches.

Litter from water balloons- They will be doing passes on the warmer days in summer to keep up with removal. If you see remnants of water balloons, please pick them up as they can be a choking hazard for our little ones.