Community Board 10 requests two dedicated Parks Enforcement Police officers for Pelham Bay Park

Community Board 10 requests two dedicated Parks Enforcement Police officers for Pelham Bay Park
An artist’s rendering of the new adult fitness area in Pelham Bay Park.
Photo courtesy of Councilman Jimmy Vacca

Two large regional parks in Community Board 10 are getting some much needed advocacy by the local planning board.

Pelham Bay Park, the largest in CB 10 and in New York City, is the subject of a request by the board that two permanent Parks Enforcement Patrol officers be assigned to the sprawling park – three times the size of Central Park and stretching all the way from Middletown Road to the city’s northern border with Westchester.

Meanwhile, capital improvements, including youth and adult exercise equipment in Pelham Bay Park funded by Councilman Jimmy Vacca and Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr. and a long awaited comfort station project for the west side of Ferry Point Park, are “in the works,” said CB 10 parks committee chairwoman Virginia Gallagher.

PEP officers in PelBay Park

The 2,772 acres in Pelham Bay Park are patrolled by some of the borough’s 35 PEP officers, but the board is advocating that two be permanently assigned to the park. Gallagher noted at a September CB 10 meeting that while there was an allocation of PEP officers to the borough last year, they can still be moved around as the Parks Department sees fit.

CB 10 district manager Kenneth Kearns said that the board decided to include this as part its annual expense budget requests for New York City’s Fiscal Year 2016. Having the PEP in the park would free up local police, he said.

“Pelham Bay Park is a regional park and so many people use it from all over the borough, and the 45th Precinct is so limited in their personnel,” he said. “It is best that the PEP officers coordinate with the 45th Precinct and make the park safer for all visitors.”

Gallagher added: “The problem is these PEP officers are placed around the borough, and when you stop and analyze all of the parks in our board, you can well imagine the number of only 35 PEP officers for all of the Bronx is not really what we are looking for.”

She said that she is not sure how far the board will get on the PEP officer request for Pelham Bay, but if they do not ask, they will never know, and that they are least trying.

Exercise Equipment for Middletown Road area

As previously reported, new exercise stations are planned for areas adjoining the Playground for All Children in Pelham Bay Park (for youngsters) and near the parks’ Dog Run (for adults).

Councilman Jimmy Vacca allocated about $416,000 for the project, and the borough president got a grant for $200,000.

“Everyone will have the opportunity to go there, use this exercise equipment, and probably take off millions of pounds,” said Gallagher. “But in any event, you can have lots of fun with it.”

Ferry Point Park west bathrooms

The long awaited comfort station for the west side of Ferry Point Park, budgeted since 2007, but delayed several times, is something covered in numerous published reports.

The money is indeed in the city’s capital budget, said CB 10’s Parks Committee chairwoman. Dotti Poggi, leader of the Ferry Point Park Advocates, said that a bathroom or “comfort station” is needed.

“We still want a bathroom for 5,000 to 8,000 visitors who come to the park every weekend for seven months out of the year,” said Poggi. “It is really a necessity.”

Ferry Point could also use PEP officers and exercise stations, she said. The stations would be “wonderful for fitness oriented adults who come to Ferry Point Park.”

Reach Reporter Patrick Rocchio at (718) 742–3393. E-mail him at procc‌[email protected]‌ngloc‌ Follow him on Twitter @patrickfrocchio.

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