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‘Detective Dillon Stewart Playground’ Closer to a Reality

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The renaming of the Parade Ground playground in memory of slain 70th Precinct Detective Dillon Stewart is one step closer to becoming a reality. At the February meeting of Community Board 14, which was held at Public School 249, Caton Avenue and Marlborough Road, board members voted unanimously to support the renaming. “The site is really ideal,” remarked Robert Newman, the co-chairperson of the board’s Community Environment Committee. The other site that had previously been explored by board members was the Campus Road tot lot, Newman recalled. However, Newman said that the Parade Ground site was more appropriate both because it has “heavier use,” and because it is closer to Ocean and Church Avenues, where Stewart was gunned down in the line of duty last November 28th , as he and his partner pursued a motorist who had run a red light. With the board’s approval, the renaming request next goes to City Councilmember Yvette Clarke, in whose district the playground is situated. She has, “Already expressed her support,” noted Newman. There is also a move afoot to create a memorial for 70th Precinct Police Officer Francis Hennessey, who died from a brain aneurysm on January 9th, in the process of responding to a 911 call, said board District Manager Terry Rodie. Hennessey had worked at the 70th Precinct as a scooter cop for eight years, and spent a good of deal of his on-duty time at Newkirk Plaza, where Rodie said merchants and the Flatbush Development Corporation (FDC) are working to put up a plaque in his memory at the spot where an impromptu memorial was established following the officer’s untimely death. Cathy Hickey, the director of economic development for FDC, said the plaque honoring Hennessey – which would be mounted on the fence overlooking the subway platform — will be paid for by the Newkirk Plaza Merchants Association, with FDC organizing the effort. No date has yet been set for a plaque dedication; however, said Hickey, they are aiming for a date “sometime in April. “We want to do it up big,” Hickey went on. “Clearly, we are going to invite his family, the 70th Precinct, the police commissioner and elected officials. We are also looking at having some kind of youth component, because the kids really looked up to him.”

Posted 7:15 pm, October 10, 2011
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