The Parks Department is kicking ash.
After a plan to designate areas for barbecuing in Bronx Park failed to gather community support, the agency is reverting back to a strict enforcement policy.
New signs have been installed in Bronx Park adjacent to Bronx Park East both north and south of Pelham Parkway, alerting those using the greenspace that there is no barbecuing allowed in the park, said Pelham Parkway Neighborhood Association president Edith Blitzer.
Violators risk fines ranging from $50 to $250.
The red signage placed last week at entrances to the parks, along paths, and near playgrounds came after years of community concerns about ill-disposed hot coals and barbecuing too close to trees and potentially setting off a fire, Blitzer said.
The community made the decision to ban grills after Councilman Jimmy Vacca left it up to them, Blitzer said.
“The reason the community made this decision not to have pits and designated areas for barbecuing is that it would cut off areas in the park where people can sit and children can play,” Blitzer said.
The new signs, she added, are fairly vandal-proof. “No one is just going to pick it off the post and bend it or break it. They are going to last.”
Vacca, Community Board 11 representatives, and Parks Department officials did a park walk-though last summer after reports of on-going issues with barbecuing.
A proposal made at that meeting to place barbecue pits in the park was scuttled after receiving little community support, Vacca said.
Jeremy Warneke, district manager of Community Board 11, said one of the bigger problems is the trash and improperly disposed hot coals that are left behind.
“If people were to clean up after themselves, and dispose of the coals properly, I think it would go a long way to resolving the concerns about barbecuing that people have – not all of the concerns, but some of them,” Warneke said.
He said that Parks officials turned away three people barbecuing or planning to barbecue in Bronx Park during the weekend of May 12-13.