State Sen. Frank Padavan (R−Bellerose) said the city Parks Department is planning to coordinate with the NYPD and FDNY to provide some sort of security at Bayside’s Fort Totten following the FDNY’s recent decision to terminate its private security services at the park.
Padavan, who joined more than 40 northeast Queens residents outside the fort earlier this month to protest the lapse in security, sent a letter to Mayor Michael Bloomberg to express his concern that the historic park could be vulnerable to vandalism, arson or graffiti if security is not provided at the site.
He said Queens Park Commissioner Dorothy Lewandowski assured him that the department would schedule meetings with the FDNY and NYPD to collaborate on some form of security at the fort.
“There’s no doubt they’ll do something,” Padavan said. “We’ll determine whether we think their plan is satisfactory once it’s completed. I got the impression that it would be soon.”
The FDNY announced last month that it was handing over security to Flushing’s 109th Precinct on March 1 when the department’s contract expired amid budget constraints.
For the past two years, the fort had been guarded by FDNY members who occupied a booth at its entrance gate. Detective Kevin O’Donnell, a spokesman for the 109th Precinct, said police would not stand guard outside the fort and at most would send a squad car to occasionally patrol its perimeters.
An FDNY spokesman said the department had spent $650,000 a year for security at the fort, bounded by the Long Island Sound and the Cross Island Parkway. It is home to several groups, an NYPD K−9 unit, an emergency services unit and an EMS academy.
— Nathan Duke
©2009 Community News Group
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