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Meadow on the mend: Injurious park getting a safety makeover

Saftey Upgrade: Arutuiun Kazaryan, who visits Bensonhurst Park everyday, is hoping for a safer, cleaner park with a soccer field.
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A dangerous park is getting an overdue makeover.

The city is pumping $6.5 million into Bensonhurst Park to redesign a worn-out playground and repave uneven pathways that have caused injuries costing the city more than $65,000 in personal injury claims over the last five years. And the improvements can not come soon enough, locals said.

“This park is a mess,” said Bensonhurster Yuliya Vasily, who regularly brings her kids to the green space. “When it rains, pools of dirty water form in the playground that last for days. It’s not safe for the children.”

The city has not given the greensward a major renovation since 1991 and it has doled out cash in four personal-injury settlements due to broken jungle gyms and cracked sidewalks, according to data from Comptroller Scott Stringer.

The Parks Department needs more than $30 million to restore Bensonhurst Park to like-new condition — something the agency does not presently have the green for, but it developed a five-phase plan to renovate the park incrementally, said Councilman Vincent Gentile (D–Bay Ridge), who kicked in some of the cash.

The initial work will include new water, drainage, and lighting systems, as well as a brand-new playground, repaved plaza and pathways, and new benches and game tables.

The $6.5 million came from Gentile, Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito (D–Manhattan), Mayor DeBlasio and Councilman Mark Treyger (D–Coney Island).

The Parks Department will take input from the community before designing the new park, though it has not set a date for such meetings, officials said. The design portion will take 10–16 months, but the city doesn’t know when phase-I construction will be done, according to a Parks Department spokeswoman. Locals can e-mail suggestions to vgentile@council.nyc.gov.

Reach reporter Caroline Spivack at cspivack@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260–2517. Follow her on Twitter @carolinespivack.
Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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