Civic cleanup nearly undone by city project

Crews dismantle the playground in Whitestone before Parks begins renovations. Photo courtesy Devon O'Connor
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It is not often that a civic group regrets cleaning up a playground, but it almost happened in Whitestone this month.

Pint-sized residents of a northeast Queens neighborhood will have some new digs to play in after the city Parks Department finishes a complete reconstruction of the Whitestone playground.

The playground is between 11th and 12th avenues and 152nd and 154th streets, and previously featured a jungle gym, slides and swing sets as well as a number of benches for adults.

But patches of the metal on the jungle gym, where children were constantly scrambling around, were starting to rust and create jagged edges, according to neighbors.

Many parents who live in the area sent an e-mail to Devon O’Connor, who runs the Welcome to Whitestone Commercial and Residential Civic Association.

In response to the concerns over the hazardous play conditions, O’Connor decided to do something about it and planned for a park cleanup.

“I thought, ‘All right, I could talk to somebody... maybe we could put together a park cleanup, maybe do a beautification project,’” O’Connor said.

An event created on the civic’s Facebook page asked those in the neighborhood to pitch in and pick up the park.

But after going through the proper channels at the Parks Department, O’Connor was told not to have the cleanup.

And they had a good reason.

“They said, ‘Hold off on the clean-up project. There are actually plans in place to do a renovation,’” he said.

Indeed, Parks already had plans to completely renovate the playground and stopped O’Connor from wasting the civic’s efforts.

Crews hired by Parks have already begun tearing up the playground with huge construction equipment, according to a spokesman.

The $310,000 project will include new play equipment, a new safety surface for the existing equipment and concrete repair throughout the site, according to parks.

The construction is set to be completed by the end of the fall.

O’Connor will still hold the cleanup, according to Parks, but it will have to wait until after the repairs.

The civic leader and his brothers still wanted to contribute, however, which is why they instead got permission from Parks to repaint lines on the three basketball rims also near the playground.

Reach reporter Joe Anuta by e-mail at or by phone at 718-260-4566.

Posted 2:29 am, September 6, 2012
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Reader feedback

Jason from whitestone says:
Parks Dept we really appreciate the renovations. It was much needed!! But I am alittle bit baffled that there was no prior notification(example: a sign posted what was actually going on, approx completion date, etc). The renovations being performed in early September is bad timing, this park is usually not that busy in the summer months. But when school is in, it is a after school place for kids to have tons of fun.
I also assumed that the civics (whitestone taxpayers or welcome to whiteston)would have a heads up or even a input into what is going into the park.
Devon keep up the great work in the community!!!
Sept. 7, 2012, 8:20 pm
Carmine says:
Jason, you will see how effective your promotion of these civic groups are in time. But for now, you sadly and conveniently remembered to excluded the civic that has been pushing for parks to do this work.

Let me help you take off your blinders and introduce you to the Malba Gardens Civic Association, the only Whitestone civic that matters in this community.

For further information email us at .

Jason who do you work for? Hmmmmmmm?
Sept. 9, 2012, 10:33 am
Lisa says:
Carmine, Malba Gardens matters in what way and for what purpose? Please explain?
Sept. 9, 2012, 6:35 pm
Al anon says:
Too quiet. Come on people where is the entertainment?
Sept. 12, 2012, 6:29 pm
Al anon says:
Interesting how no one allegedly tried to hijack the post comment on this story.
Sept. 13, 2012, 6:50 pm
Lisa says:
Al anon, you must understand he has been preoccupied yelling at young children in the schoolyard. Rest assured no one knows and does it better than Alfredo, he'll be back.
Sept. 14, 2012, 1:01 pm
Carmine says:
Ow weesa this coming fwom the woman who went on wacation leaving her young child behind.
Sept. 14, 2012, 1:52 pm
Paul says:
Do tell, do your clients in the Democratic party know of your work for tea party blowhards?

Do tell. I'm sure
Andrew would be intrigued.
Sept. 14, 2012, 3:56 pm
Mike says:
While we are on this topic was any money collected for this planned clean up? Still not showing up as a 501c3
Sept. 14, 2012, 3:58 pm
Lisa says:
See Al anon, what did I say? Centola's back!
Sept. 15, 2012, 5:04 am
Mike says:
"Do tell, do your clients in the Democratic party know of your work for tea party blowhards?

Do tell. I'm sure
Andrew would be intrigued."

Yes please do and what's with the 501c3??????????

Rather lack of?
Sept. 16, 2012, 6:02 pm
jason from whitestone says:
malba gardens civic assn should take care of just that malba & their beautiful gardens. i will keep my blinders on and stay with the whitestone civics. thank you.
1st and last time i post any comments.reading these posts is like watching some silly soap opera.
Sept. 18, 2012, 8:53 pm
Mike says:
Problem is Jason that some quote unquote Whitestone civics ate selling Whitestone out one tune can at a time
Sept. 18, 2012, 9:33 pm
jason from whitestone says:
i know i sayd it was my last post but can you explain your last answer. what is malba gardens civic assn selling out in whitestone.
Sept. 18, 2012, 9:44 pm
Mike says:
I was not referring to Malba gardens nor Greater Whitestone.
Sept. 18, 2012, 10:25 pm
jason from whitestone says:
thn maybe you can tell us the story about selling out. tell us the story. your gona make a comment, what do you no tell us the story.
Sept. 19, 2012, 7:29 am
Carmine says:
We got a new one here boys and girls.
Sept. 19, 2012, 8:36 am
jason from whitestone says:
you malba gardens people always make acusations and back it up with insults. why. i just asked mike to explain who is selling out what. can you.
Sept. 19, 2012, 12:15 pm
Paul says:
Insults? How do you get that? Who insulted who?
Sept. 19, 2012, 1:10 pm
jason from whitestone says:
you are like carzy pit bulls. that is what i mean with sily soap opera. all you malba garden people make comments and back nothing up when asked about it.
who is selling out what.
Sept. 19, 2012, 1:55 pm
Carmine says:
What are you talking about?

When did anyone say anything negative that wasn't backed up? You know who is writing what under different names and attempting to blame it on others as well as blame others for doing what they do. Jason if you are not who I think you are then please elaborate with your "facts"
Sept. 19, 2012, 3:03 pm
jason from whitestone says:
i am jason,who is righting under differt names. what facts.i just asked a question, what are you talking about. i just asked mike to explain who is selling out what. can you. or is this just what you malba gardens people do.
Sept. 20, 2012, 8:29 am
Paul says:
At least the is now admission of someone writing under different names. Thank you.
Sept. 20, 2012, 3:05 pm
jason from whitestone says:
i was asking the question, who is righting under differt names. and who is selling out whitestone. you guys juss play games and no nothing.
Sept. 21, 2012, 7:19 am
Angelo says:
Hey Jason, looks like your now a part of the Alfredo Centola's, Malba Gardens silly soap opera. Welcome.
Sept. 21, 2012, 2:32 pm
Carmine says:
Hey Ang you like throwing names around don't you

Why not share your full name?

Come one be a man.
Sept. 21, 2012, 6:37 pm
Carmine says:
I'll tell mine if ya tell me yours. Come on.
Sept. 21, 2012, 7:36 pm
jason from whitestone says:
Sept. 18, 10:44 pm
Sept. 19, 1:15 pm
Sept. 19, 2:55 pm
Sept. 20, 9:29 am
Sept. 21, 8:19 am
THAT "jason from whitestone" NEEDS SPELL CHECK!!!!
Sept. 29, 2012, 3:05 pm
jason says:
you are the jason from malba garden silly soap opera, you and all your friends are nuts somone shuld shut you all down.
Oct. 1, 2012, 1:06 pm
jason from whitestone says:
yes this is silly..................lets continue...........
Oct. 6, 2012, 7:20 pm

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