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Bright idea: Locals want more lights in Marine Park

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Let there be lights!

The city must install more and brighter lights in Marine Park before someone gets hurt, locals warn. The borough’s largest green space stays open until 10 pm — way past dusk in the winter months — and park-goers fear that something bad may happen without enough lamps to brighten the area.

“It’s such a low light. It’s like pitch black,” said Fran Kaufman-Espada, who cuts through the green space on her way to work but not on her way home, because the sun has set. “I’m really afraid. I go around.”

And now that days are getting shorter, recreationists have even less time to enjoy their neighborhood green space, another local said.

“The other day, I left at 6 pm. I was still doing laps, and I said, ‘I better get to the other side, I better get home. It’s too dark,’ ” said Isabel Machiavelo.

The park has 44 lights throughout that are programmed to automatically turn on at dusk and turn off at dawn, according to a Parks Department spokeswoman — but they don’t provide enough glow for women to feel safe after dark, which is the only time some park-goers can make it, another local said.

“Sometimes … we can’t come at a time when it’s still daylight — and there’s no lights, so after 6, we don’t come. They are not bright enough,” said Helen Ufret, who said the rape and slaying of jogger Karina Vetrano in Queens this summer has her on pins and needles. “Take it from that girl who got abducted in Howard Beach.”

The local councilman plans to budget for the city to put more lamps in front of the park’s Carmine Carro rec center, he said.

“It’s definitely too dark there in front of the center,” said Councilman Alan Maisel (D–Marine Park).

The Parks Department is currently giving the park a $5-million makeover to add new bocce ball, handball, and tennis courts, but it is has no immediate plans to add new lights, a spokeswoman said.

Reach reporter Julianne Cuba at (718) 260–4577 or by e-mail at jcuba@cnglocal.com. Follow her on Twitter @julcuba.
Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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