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Marine Park bathrooms reopen — but for how long?

Fix for botched lock draws jeers

Brooklyn Daily
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The boondoggle’s got a Band-Aid — and locals say any crook can rip it off.

Days after a report published in this paper about how improperly installed locks inside the Carmine Carro Community Center’s bathrooms forced the city to shutter the long-awaited toilets, the Parks Department addressed the problem — but in a way that doesn’t exactly fix it.

The problem was that the bathrooms had doors outer doors for the park-going public and interior doors leading into the rest of the center, which is often closed or hosting private events. But because the locks on the inner doors were installed backwards, even when the doors were locked anyone in the public bathroom could unlock them with the manual knob and gain unauthorized access to the $16.5 million building.

Parks first simply locked the outer door to the bathrooms — locking out the general public — but after outrage from park-goers and inquiries from this paper, the city came up with another, only slightly better solution — installing a simple latch and padlock on the inner doors to keep them closed regardless of the door locks.

While this did reopen the bathrooms to the public, locals are worried that they won’t be for long, after people realize that the latches — padlocks and all — can be removed by anyone with a wrench.

“These people we’ve elected to make good decisions about our parks have left a $16.5 million building wide open to any crook with a crowbar,” said Marine Park advocate John Manzola. “I wouldn’t trust the Parks Department to build a bird house.”

The wildly over-budget community center was already more than a decade in the making, but now seems still unfinished —assuming the padlock ploy is yet another temporary fix.

The bathrooms at the fieldhouse are open for the moment, but Manzola fears that if anyone unscrews the latch to gain unlawful access to the center, Parks will have no choice but to shut them again.

“They closed the bathrooms because they didn’t want anyone breaking in, and this is their solution?” said an exasperated Manzola. “They might as well put up a welcome sign.”

Marine Park field house is considered by some to be Southern Brooklyn’s biggest boondoggle — especially compared to much bigger projects, including the Freedom Tower.

The Marine Park building cost taxpayers about $5,000 a square foot, while Manhattan’s 104-story skyscraper will cost a mere $1,456 per square foot.

The field house is named for beloved civic leader Carmine Carro, who pushed for its construction since 1990. He died in 2005.

Reach reporter Colin Mixson at cmixson@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-4514.
Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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