He had to have park

for The Brooklyn Paper
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Hey, want to fix your local park? Then you better have patience and a lot of determination.

That’s what a concerned parent learned when he decided two years ago that an unsafe local playground needed change.

Miguel Aguero called the Parks Department and complained about the alleged dangers of Slope Park, which is next to Middle School 88 on Sixth Avenue between 18th and 19th streets — but the agency told him that it would not meet with him until he assembled a group of at least 10 people.

Aguero, a father of two, quickly posted flyers in the area and soon had formed “the Friends of Slope Park.”

It wasn’t a hard sell, he recalled.

“The park was run-down, filled with the homeless, people who would drink, smoke and play loud music during the late hours,” Ageuro said. “These people took the park away from the children.”

The Parks Department finally took notice, though it was a struggle getting the agency to even put up its standard “rules” sign, Aguero said.

“You know how much it took to get this sign up?” Aguero said as he pointed to the sign that prohibits alcoholic beverages and loud music among others. “I had to keep calling them.”

But through the group’s resolve — and the Parks Department’s belated work — the playground is now a safer environment, he said.

“He really took charge,” Mary Charley said of Aguero as she watched her children play in the park. “The park has become much safer now since the group took over this place.”

Now the group is focussed on replacing equipment that dates back three decades and, Aguero said, is not safe. The group says conditions led to a young girl’s fall last year in which she broke her collarbone.

After eight months of being prodded by Aguero, local Councilmembers Bill DeBlasio (D–Park Slope) and Sara Gonzalez (D–Sunset Park) have put the park in line for $1.7 million needed for a full renovation project.

“I think it is terrific that Miguel has been so involved and I hope that more community members are inspired by his story and take his lead,” DeBlasio said.

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