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Charges of Ugly trash - P.S. 207 playground comes under fire

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Trash and teens are pitting parents against community residents.

The animosity was evident at last week’s meeting of the Marine Park Civic Association, which was held at P.S. 207 at 4011 Fillmore Avenue, when members of the school’s Parent-Teacher Association (PTA) and a local resident engaged in a battle of words about the school.

“The school is constantly under attack for quality-of-life issues,” said PTA President Cathy Sullivan. “Our principal has been harassed regularly with letters from the community from people who don’t sign their names.”

Sullivan said the letters contain “disgusting language.”

“We open our school to you on a monthly basis,” she told the civic, which always meets in the school’s auditorium. “This is a gem in the community. It’s nothing less than that.”

Sullivan’s comments were in response to a local resident, who has repeatedly requested that his name be withheld, writing letters criticizing P.S. 207’s management of its schoolyard and custodial staff.

The resident has asserted that numerous bags of trash are often left in disarray outside of the school and that teens regularly hang out in the schoolyard late at night.

The secretary for P.S. 207’s principal said the school contacted the city Department of Sanitation about the trash concerns and “according to them, there are no violations.”

Addressing the complaints about the schoolyard, the secretary, who declined to give her name, said, “It is something that bothers [the principal] and she addresses it. She wants the building to not have children hanging out.”

The verbal smackdown nearly overshadowed the unveiling of a new design for P.S. 207’s schoolyard. The city is currently working on a plan to transform the space into a park.

According to a rendering distributed at the meeting, the park will feature new trees, a running track, game tables, an outdoor classroom, a kickball field, exercise equipment, and a stage with benches.

There’s also two basketball courts located in the center of the park and surrounded by a fence. The courts are positioned in the center of the park to diminish the noise homeowners will hear on surrounding streets.

Marine Park Civic President Greg Borruso said it’s a “better plan” than what was initially presented.

“The main concerns were the basketball courts and courtyard,” he explained. “There were always problems with that courtyard – kids hanging out late at night, drinking, smoking, vandalism.”

“I think the fence there is going to prevent a lot of that from happening and the PTA agreed,” he said.

The basketball courts will be removable so P.S. 207’s custodians can take them down when the school day ends, thereby discouraging teens from hanging out after hours.

“I’m much happier with the sketch,” Borruso said. “They’ve done things to make it acceptable to the community.”

Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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