Morris Park residents want Loreto Playground renovations finished

The unfinished construction at Loreto Playground, which has looked eerily the same for the last 10 months.
Photos Jason Cohen

The city Parks Department began work in September 2020 tearing up Loreto Park to repave the multi-purpose playground area with asphalt. Yet, construction stopped in October, and never restarted.

While the timeline for the project calls for it to be done by September, many people are tired of looking at the same mounds of dirt.

On July 12, Morris Park residents led by Gene DeFrancis, the president of the Allerton International Merchant Association, and Phyllis Nastasio and Steve DeMartis, the Republican leaders for the 80th District, held a press conference demanding the work at the park get finished.

“We understand things take time, DeFrancis said. “They dug up the playground and they walked away. We’re here to say that our kids need our parks back and they need it now.”

Far too often, the city has a habit of taking long periods of time to finish projects and this is simply unacceptable, he added.

Morris Park resident Gene DeFrancis, demands answers as to why renovations at Loreto Playground have taken so long.

“No one should sit back and say ‘oh, it’s the city, that’s what happens,’” DeFrancis said. “If you start the work, finish the work. We’re desperate for some answers. We want the work to start tomorrow.”

Aleksander Mici, a Republican running for City Council in the 13th District, is quite angry about the situation. Mici feels that the city is deliberately delaying construction because Morris Park held a “Back the Blue” rally last summer.

“The mayor [Bill de Blasio] does not like his own law enforcement agency,” Mici said. “Parks like this usually take two weeks to fix. The mayor has been delinquent on his job.”

Aleksander Mici, a Republican, who is running for City Council in the 13th District, demands that the work at Loreto Park is finished. Misci believes that the city is playing politics with the project because a “Back the Blue” rally was held there in 2020.

DeMartis  said he’s tired of staring at what has turned into a monstrosity of an eyesore. This is supposed to be a place for families and children to go, he said, but for 10 months much of the playground has been completely inaccessible. “As residents of the community we pay taxes, we do our share and to not be treated right infuriates us,” he added. “We’re not happy the way the park is.”

However, a Parks Department spokesman, Dan Kastanis said work was halted back in October due to several items that needed to be resolved. The excess materials disposal plan needed to be revised by the contractor and approved by the Parks Department. There was also revisions to the electric point of entry that had to be coordinated with Con Edison. Kastanis noted that both items have since been completed and the work is now expected to resume in the coming weeks with a targeted completion of September as was projected in the plan’s original timeline.

Reach Jason Cohen at jcohen@schnepsmedia.com or (718) 260-4598. For more coverage, follow us on Twitter @bxtimes and Facebook @bxtimes. 

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