A new NYC Parks Enforcement Police hub is being planned for the north Bronx.
NYC Parks is constructing its PEP station just outside of Pelham Bay Park, at a location that had once been a parking lot and a maintenance building, across Westchester Avenue from Amendola Plaza.
However, the centrally located police station at the corner of Burr Avenue will not necessarily increase the number of PEP officers in the borough, stated an NYC Parks spokeswoman.
The spokeswoman stated it “will expand PEP presence in the north Bronx and allow officers to be dispatched more quickly throughout the Bronx given the close proximity to the highway.”
“This new station will help our PEP officers cover north Bronx parks more efficiently,” said Iris Rodriguez-Rosa, NYC Parks Bronx commissioner. “We’ll be able to dispatch officers faster to Pelham Bay Park, as well as other parks in the north Bronx.”
The PEP station will be comprised of three pre-fabricated trailers at a cost of $222,722, and is expected to be activated by the end of June 2018, stated the spokeswoman. Artist’s renderings were not available as of press time.
A shed on the property will be demolished, but the closed comfort station building nearby will remain, she said.
A tall fence has been erected around the site, abutting Burr and Westchester avenues and running along Bruckner Boulevard.
Michelle Torrioni, Pelham Bay Taxpayers and Community Association president, said she thought that the fence looks good and that she was glad to see that NYC Parks had done a clean up of the area.
“If they fix it up and build a nice building, that would be good. If they put Parks Enforcement in there hopefully they will be more enforcement for the summer [at Pelham Bay Park],” said Torrioni.
The community leader said she hoped issues with people leaving debris in Pelham Bay Park’s barbecue areas and double-parking cars along Bruckner Boulevard in the summer could be eased with the stepped-up PEP presence.
Bob Bieder, a local activist and member of the Community Board 10’s parks committee, said he was surprised to hear of the development because there is already a facility for cops inside Pelham Bay Park, and the officers could also utilize space at Owen Dolen Park.
Bieder said he welcomes any increased presence of PEP officers.
Rico Pannea, manager of Villa Barone Restaurant, which used the city parcel for the restaurant’s customer parking, said that the change is tough because in some cases patrons now have to pay for parking at a nearby lot on Westchester Avenue.
They were alerted two months ago of the plans, he said.
A NYC Parks spokeswoman stated that the restaurant once had a parking agreement with the agency, but has not had an active agreement recently.
Bieder said that the use of the site as a parking lot is not the best use for the public land.