Clason Point residents express concern about waterfront park

Residents of Clason Point are concerned that quality-of-life issues at Clason Point Park will return as the weather gets warmer.

At a townhall meeting called by the Harding Park Homeowners Association on Thursday, April 14, about 100 residents came out to a discussion which featured the 43rd Precinct’s commanding officer Deputy Inspector Charles Ortiz, Assemblyman Marcos Crespo, Community Board 9 district manager Francisco Gonzalez, as well as Parks Department representatives and Park Rangers, and representatives from Congressman Joseph Crowley, Senator Ruben Diaz Sr., District Attorney Robert Johnson, and Councilwoman Annabel Palma.

Ortiz addressed the crowd and said that the 43rd Precinct is gearing up to respond protectively to all complaints about individuals selling food and alcohol in the park, barbecuing, urinating in public, camping overnight, dumping trash, and hanging out near the entrance to the park, which is located at the end of Soundview Avenue at the East River.

As a result of the meeting, the park will now be closed at 9 p.m. at night, instead of at dusk, and anyone caught breaking the curfew will be subject to summonsing and arrests.

In addition to stepped up enforcement by the 43rd Precinct, Parks Enforcement will also be more active.

“The Parks Enforcement Patrol is actively monitoring the park and working closely with NYPD to prevent people from parking illegally, playing loud music without a permit and drinking in the park,” a Parks spokesman said. “Curfew signage has been posted in the park in both English and Spanish.”

The park has had a large influx of visitors from neighboring community districts, said CB 9 district manager Francisco Gonzalez.

“This meeting was the culmination of concerns that residents in the community surrounding the park have had for several years,” Gonzalez said. “This is a working-class community where people often have to get up to go to work very early in the morning or late at night. Some people who may have to work a midnight shift and cannot sleep because of loud music coming from two or three blocks away, are concerned, and rightfully so.”

Gonzalez is also calling on the Department of Transportation to install angled parking outside of the park to create extra spaces for area homeowners to make up for spaces taken by park visitors, and also is calling for zero tolerance of open containers and illegal vendors in the park this summer.

Resident Israel Rivera, in attendance at the meeting, said the community is trying to reduce the problem before it becomes a major issue.

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