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Five elected officials who represent the district near the park said the third largest park in the city deserved its own facility during a news conference at the New York Hall of Science Monday."We need a permanent police presence in the form of some type of building or structure," Councilman Hiram Monserrate (D-Corona) said. He did not specify where the new structure should be located, but the former police officer said he thought there should be about 60 officers stationed there, some from the city's Police Department and some from the Park Police.Requests for comment from the Police Department were not answered.The 843-acre Central Park, far smaller than the 1,255-acre Flushing Meadows Corona Park, has more visitors annually with about 25 million people, but less crime. It also has its own police precinct that houses approximately 120 officers.Flushing Meadows Corona Park is smaller than Pelham Bay Park in the Bronx and the Staten Island Greenbelt.Between Nov. 20 and Dec. 25 there were at least 12 violent incidents in the park, including the murder of Carlos Flores, 40, of Ridgewood and the brutal beating of Jae-Woo Park, 33, who remains in a coma in Elmhurst Hospital Center. Three men are facing charges related to the attacks.The police responded with an increase in patrols, official said at the time. The Council members said the precinct would improve security going forward by providing a permanent presence in the park. "The goal here is to prevent crime and deter crime. That is what the park presence will mean," Councilman James Gennaro (D-Fresh Meadows) said.Councilman John Liu (D-Flushing) said the park needed security for users who are there day and night."Without that kind of police presence and control, people will feel they are not safe," he said.Borough President Helen Marshall proposed putting a city police academy in the park in her state of the borough address Jan. 23.David Oats, the chairman of the Flushing Meadows-Corona Park World's Fair Association, was opposed to the police academy plan, but liked the idea of a permanent policing facility, which he said would bring more security.Community Board 4, which covers Corona and Elmhurst, has been pushing for a permanent structure, even a precinct, in the park for the past three years as a part of its annual budget requests.Reach reporter Adam Pincus by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 154.
©2007 Community Newspaper Group
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