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Residents fight vandalism in Flushing park

A section of Turtle Park, which only holds benches and empty chess...

By Jonathan Kay

In an effort to combat vandalism in Flushing, a group of residents is calling for renovations to Turtle Park playground on 138th Street and 61st Road, said community member Enzo Dacosta.

A section of Turtle Park, which only holds benches and empty chess tables, has become a popular teen hangout, Dacosta said. Although the concerned residents do not have a specific plan, they are pushing for an all-out renovation of this section, which would include removing the benches and tables in favor of new equipment that will not attract a teen crowd.

“Young teens gravitate toward the section,” said Dacosta of the area where graffiti covers both the tabletops and benches. “They’ve been vandalizing the section and the whole neighborhood.”

A playground neighbor on 138th Street recently had his white wall graffitied, and a white van outside his house was also spray-painted.

Officer Ki-Soo Kim of the 109th Precinct said police have received many complaints that youths are in the park past posted hours and patrol cars are visiting the park as often as possible to check for teens drinking and using drugs.

For renovations to occur, the residents must bring a plan to Community Board 7. Then if the plan is approved by the community board, the board must then bring the case to City Councilman James Gennaro (D-Fresh Meadows) and acquire the necessary funds from him, a spokeswoman for the city Parks Department said.

The community board is out of session during the summer, and when the residents tried to bring up their case in May, the board’s spring calendar was full, Dacosta said.

District Manager Marilyn Bitterman said the board’s schedule is booked through September, so the earliest this request will be heard is the beginning of October.

“We’ll just have to wait it out until the fall,” Dacosta said. “I can’t see any reason, as long as it is a straightforward process, that this can’t be done.”

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