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Vandalism occurs at recently renovated Veterans Memorial Park

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Construction on Bicentennial Veterans Memorial Park are now complete, but vandalism has already occurred.

The fencing along the waterfront is complete, said Parks Department spokesman Zachary Feder. An inspection of the landscaping and entrances was undertaken by the Parks Department on Monday, November 7, Feder said, and he added that the park was open after the Bronx Veterans Day Parade on Sunday, November 13.

The renovations cost $1.3 million.

But invasive plantings around where a new black steel fence ends, including 30 to 40 new thorn shrubs costing approximately $25,000 that are designed to prevent people from accessing Edgewater Park from the park along the waterfront of the park, were torn out by the roots sometime on Saturday, November 5 or Sunday, November 6, said Community Board 10 member Pat Devine, who spearheaded the park’s construction in the 1970s and its present reconstruction.

“The largest thorn bushes that they planted, located where the new fence ends, were torn up and all that remains there are holes,” Devine said. “The thorn bushes look nice on paper, but they would take three to five years to develop, and that cannot happen if people are constantly walking over them. Now, they have been removed.”

The original fence plan called for it to stretch entirely to the waterfront to prevent use of a trail leading to and from Edgewater Park that people have used to access the park for years, Devine said.

Instead, Parks decided to plant invasive shrubs because officials said that the footing for the fence would not be strong enough if it stretched beyond the water’s edge, said CB 10 Parks chairwoman Virginia Gallagher.

Both Devine and CB 10 chairman John Marano said that a retaining wall which separates the Edgewater Park Owners Cooperative and parkland closer to the development could be extended about 30 feet to the waterfront, creating a barrier that could prevent access to Edgewater Park.

“The retaining wall that separates Edgewater Park from the park needs to be extended 30 feet because the way it is now there is easy access to and from Edgewater Park,” Marano said.

If that were done, residents of the Edgewater Park Owners Cooperative would need to leave the co-op to acccess the park, but would then be protected from liability, Devine said.

In addition to the planting of a victory garden that should include colorful plants, there is also a new staircase and a wheelchair accessible path at the park’s entrance on Ellsworth Avenue, which are major improvements, Devine said.

Patrick Rocchio can be reach via e-mail at procchio@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 742-3393

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