The state will close the East River State Park — the Northside’s only waterfront park — from January through March because of monetary woes.
The shutdown comes after Gov. Paterson ordered state agencies to reduce operating costs by 10 percent by March.
Overall, the State Office of Parks Recreation and Historic Preservation will cut $16 million from its budget, spokeswoman Eileen Larrabee told The Brooklyn Paper. The waterfront greenspace between North Seventh and North Ninth streets in Williamburg is the only park in the state that would be shuttered.
“This is driven by economics,” Larrabee added. “Although we did want to minimize the impact on the parks, there will be about $4 million worth of cuts throughout 75 parks statewide.”
But residents of park-starved North Brooklyn can’t believe that their park, which opened last May and consists of little more than grass, will be gated for months.
“If they are going to make cuts to the department, the cuts shouldn’t start with closing open space,” said neighborhood activist Evan Thies.
“This is the last thing they should be cutting.”
Assemblyman Joe Lentol (D–Williamsburg) said he was “outraged” and promised to fight to keep the tiny green space open — especially considering that other parks upstate are facing less severe service reductions, like the cancellation of snow plowing.
“I understand that we have money problems, but this is inconsistent with the policy of the state,” he said. “They don’t close the parks upstate. This is the only park that they are scheduling to close entirely.”
This is hardly the first time that Williamsburgers and Greenpointers have said that they have been denied access to the long-awaited waterfront park.
Park-goers were outraged this summer when they were booted from East River State Park at 8 pm, before they could watch the majestic sunset over the Manhattan skyline.