May 2, 2016 By Michael Florio
Following complaints of beer bottles, condoms and even a crack pipe being found at a local playground, the Parks Department has begun locking a gate there overnight.
The Parks Department began locking Sean’s Place Playground last Wednesday, Council Member Costa Constantinides announced today. Sean’s Place is located on 38th Street between 31st Avenue and Broadway.
The Parks Department will lock the gate every night at 9 p.m. and unlock it between 5:30 a.m. and 6 a.m. the next morning, according to Constantinides.
“This will be all Parks Department staff,” he said.
Constantinides will monitor the playground to make sure that the agency keeps their word, he said.
The Parks Department agreed to do this in response to complaints from parents regarding the conditions of the playground.
One mother, Jenn Schulte, told the Astoria Post last month that she has found broken glass from beer and liquor bottles, used condoms and human feces at the playground.
At times there are baggies used for holding drugs, syringes and in one incident in March, a crack pipe that a little girl picked up, according to Schulte. She added that park benches are sometimes still occupied by people who had slept there overnight.
Constantinides said that locking the gate was the only option.
“The NYPD can’t station officers at every playground and no matter how early Parks [Department] gets there to clean, it is not early enough,” he said. “This is our last resort, but it had to happen.”
This measure is separate from a bill Constantinides is set to introduce this month, which, if passed, would require the Parks Department to lock all children’s playgrounds City-wide.
The Parks Department will continue to lock the gates until work for an upcoming renovation project begins, Constantinides said.
The $1 million renovation will include new play equipment, spray showers, pavements, fencing and plantings, according to the Parks Department. Construction is set to begin this fall and last about a year.