Parks to curb barbecuing on Bronx Park East

Barbecuing on Bronx Park East has been an issue for years, but designated areas may finally be set aside in the park for barbecuing sometime soon.

In an effort to address community concerns about illegal barbecuing in Bronx Park East, both north and south of Pelham Parkway, the Parks Department has now pledged to locate areas in the park that can be made safe for designation as barbecuing areas.

Parks agreed to look into creating new, safe locations that are away from trees and not near apartment buildings in a walk-through meeting with Councilman Jimmy Vacca and Community Board 11 on Friday, July 15, Vacca said.

“The Parks Department will come back to us with a plan where barbecuing is limited to designated areas in Bronx Park East, something that we have in almost every major park in the city,” Vacca said. “This should protect trees and our environment, and make sure that people living on Bronx Park East don’t have fumes coming in their windows.”

Preventing fire is a major concern, as is making sure that children and seniors living along Bronx Park East who may suffer from asthma don’t have to contend with massive amounts of smoke filling their apartments as it drifts over from the park, Vacca said.

Creating designated areas should make enforcement easier, Vacca added, saying that he would not want to deprive families of barbecuing, but wants to make the park safer.

“We have noticed unauthorized barbecuing in Bronx Park and taken several actions, including targeted Parks Enforcement patrols and summonses, and additional “No Barbecuing” signage,” the spokesman said. “We also met with Councilman Vacca earlier this week and are currently reviewing potential locations for authorized barbecue areas near Bronx Park East.”

Enforcement in the past has been inadequate or non-existent, said Pelham Parkway South Neighborhood Association president Edith Blitzer.

“I know a couple who live on Bronx Park East and they told me that Parks Enforcement Police came by over the July 4th weekend and shouted over a megaphone that there was no barbecuing,” Blitzer said. “They left without writing any summonses, and came back a little while later and did the same thing again.”

PEP officers need to take stronger action and designated areas for barbecuing need to be created, said community activist Joe Bombace.

“The PEP officers have got to stop issue warnings, because after they do, five or ten minutes later, they continue barbecuing,” Bombace said. “It is time for the PEP officers to step up and issue summonses.”

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