Southern Brooklynites shared a laundry-list of community concerns at a town hall meeting with local Council Member Ari Kagan on March 1 — touching on everything from dirty streets to illegally parked trucks.
At the open mic discussion, locals were able to bring their worries to a panel of city agencies, including the Parks Department, Department of Buildings, NYPD, Department of Transportation, Housing Preservation and Development and more.
Three were many complaints regarding abandoned cars parking for months at a time, cars without plates and trailers parking along West Street and Ave Z overnight.
“It’s a usual problem for south Brooklyn. Practically every day we get these complaints,” Kagan said.
Other locals mentioned on-going issues of smoking and illegal dog use in West Playground located on Avenue Z between West First Street and West Street, despite there being public postings saying pets are not permitted — an issue that he feels interferes with children’s safety.
A Parks Department official present at the meeting assured the crowd the organization has park enforcement monitoring the area and often reminds park-goers of the prohibited activity.
According to the representative, the park hasn’t seen capital improvements in years and has not had a public restroom in over 40 years — however the department secured over $4 million in funding towards “Comfort Station Construction.”
The redesign saw a few delays due to the pandemic but construction is now set to begin in April, 2023.
Another major concern for the area was trash.
One woman mentioned seeing trash build up along Avenue V, E. Eighth Street and especially Avenue U. In some cases, the bags of garbage line the streets, affecting bus routes. With the excess trash comes another concern, rats.
A spokesperson with the sanitation department says this issue is not exclusive to southern Brooklyn but has been seen citywide.
To combat this, DSNY and Mayor Eric Adams announced new sanitation rules, reducing the amount of time waste will sit on city sidewalks. Current rules say trash and recycling can be placed outside by 4 p.m. the day before collection.
Upgraded restrictions push this time back to 6 p.m. for bags going in a secure container and 8 p.m. for bags being put on the curb. The changes will go into effect on April 1.
“Bags of trash sitting on the curb for hours have hurt our city’s recovery for too long and is one of the most indelible images of New York, but, today, we’re saying enough is enough by making a generations-overdue change that will have a real impact on the cleanliness of our streets,” Mayor Adams said in a statement.
Jeannine Cherichetti, chief of staff for Kagan, says area residents appreciated being able to mention their problems directly to the respective agencies. She and other attendees look forward to seeing the mentioned affairs taken care of.
“Many attendees thanked us for having this town hall and for our constituent service work,” she told Brooklyn Paper. “We have been working with the Sheriff’s office but much more needs to be done with these issues plaguing our streets.”