Advocate demands handicapped parking for Marine Park senior center

Carl Fischer started a petition calling for handicap parking spaces at Carmine Carro Community Center.
Photo by Jessica Parks

The city must install handicapped parking spots around Marine Park’s overpriced senior center, according to an elderly activist, who launched a petition in support of the measure last week. 

“They put up this $13 million monstrosity,” said 85-year-old Carl Fischer, referencing the Carmine Carro Community Center, which actually cost $16 million and took a decade to build. ‘It cost a lot of money, and they didn’t make any provision for disability parking.”

The city designed the public meeting space — also known as the Marine Park Active Adults and Senior Center — as the environmental wonder of southern Brooklyn, which features a roof made out of plants, and a high-tech, low-energy heating and cooling system, both of which were installed at an outrageous cost to taxpayers

And while the city’s green technology racked up overruns in excess of $11 million, officials failed to dedicate any resources to accommodate handicapped drivers, who are forced to trudge upwards of 250 feet along paths leading to the nearest parking spot on Fillmore Avenue. 

Fischer — who walks with two canes — is hoping to drum up support for his push to construct 30 handicap spaces near the park’s entrance across from Madison Place. So far, the Nov. 29th petition has garnered forty signatures and the advocate claims seniors will continue flocking to add their names to his list of disgruntled drivers.

“I’ll get a hundred signatures or more,” said Fischer. “Parking for disabled seniors should have been included in the original plans.” 

Adding new spots to the park would require covering a portion of Marine Park’s greenspace with asphalt — a move that State Sen. Andrew Gounardes said he was open to, but which Councilman Alan Maisel claims would never fly with the Parks Department.

Instead of creating a whole new parking lot, Maisel said it may be possible to reserve some spots on Fillmore for disabled drivers, but the legislator said he’d be reluctant to support any measure that reduced parking throughout the neighborhood.

“The only thing you can do is take parking off of Fillmore Avenue,” said Maisel. “And there is already limited parking there for everybody.” 

A spokeswoman for the Parks Department said people with disabilities and the elderly can be dropped off at the community center’s entrance using the paved pedestrian walkway at the park’s entrance. 

“We are sensitive to the needs of people with disabilities and accommodate drop-offs at the entrance to the Carmine Carro Community Center for them,” said Anessa Hodgson.