Broken Park Path Points to Bigger Budget Problem

Print More
It's just one pathway in one park, but advocates say the plight of the walkway at Jerome Slope reflects a larger problem in how the Parks Department obtains capital funding.

Photo by: Adi Talwar

It's just one pathway in one park, but advocates say the plight of the walkway at Jerome Slope reflects a larger problem in how the Parks Department obtains capital funding.

Right between Roger Hartley’s apartment building and PS 73 — both on Anderson Avenue in Highbridge — is a stunningly decrepit park pathway.

That concrete sidewalk entrance for Jerome Slope, a small park that forms a western flank to the stretch of parkland running north from Yankee Stadium through Macombs Dam and Mullaly parks, is in disastrous condition. Concrete chunks still lie all over the path and even on benches below. This parkland is riddled by dog poop, possibly because fewer and fewer people walk through the dangerous park, leaving dog-owners to do what they please.

Hartley says the area has been in this condition for about three years and he’s been complaining about it and other local park issues for quite a while.

The Parks Department knows work is necessary but says they can’t do everything that’s needed: Neither the City Council nor the borough president has appropriated enough dough to make things right.

“We are currently seeking funding to reconstruct Jerome Slope,” the agency stated in an email. “Capital funds, which are allocated by elected officials, are necessary for reconstruction. In the interim, we will make in-house repairs to the extent possible.”

Right now, reconstruction of city park facilities always needs support from City Council members or the borough president. New Yorkers for Parks, a nonprofit, wants the next mayor to change that.

The current policy “creates an inefficient, inequitable, and potentially politicized process for funding capital projects,” the group states in a recent report, “and makes it impossible for the Department to plan for the long-terms capital maintenance and improvement of parks system wide.” NY4P, as it is known, wants the Parks Department to have its own discretionary capital budget.

Veteran Bronx parks advocate Dart Westphal agrees. “There is no way to plan for how many paths need to be rebuilt in a given year without a capital budget,” he said in an e-mail.