Comptroller John Liu announced the results of a series of audits of the Parks Department’s management of city playgrounds last week. The audits found that the department has been slow in making both routine and emergency repairs. Findings revealed that some repairs – even hazardous ones – can go untouched for months, and sometimes for more than a year. The Parks Department has apparently had trouble prioritizing repairs properly, classifying conditions that should have been considered for “Immediate Attention” as routine.
“It’s bad enough that the City is slow in keeping up with routine maintenance and repairs to playgrounds, but it is unconscionable for the City to drag its feet on fixing hazards that can injure children,” Comptroller Liu said. “No child should get hurt on a playground or play equipment that the City knows is damaged. The Parks Department needs to better prioritize repairs to our children’s play areas.”
The Parks Department issued 3,957 work orders for Manhattan playgrounds from April 1, 2011 to March 31, 2012. It took more than a month to complete 996 of the 3,152 repairs that were actually completed, as of June 18th, 2012.
There are multiple examples of neglected parks throughout Manhattan. Some examples:
• A trip hazard of a tree pit from a broken tree post in Clement Clarke Moore Park was reported on May 4th, 2011. It was repaired 296 days later on February 24th, 2012.
• Another trip hazard around a water cover in Hell’s Kitchen Park was also reported on May 4th, 2011 and was also fixed 296 days later.
• A worn out hook at the bottom of climbing chains was reported on April 20th, 2011 at McCaffrey Playground. It was fixed 302 days later on February 16th, 2012,
• An uplifted strip of concrete was reported on April 16th, 2011 at Gutenberg Playground. It was repaired 306 days later on February 16th, 2012.
• Dead limbs were reported to be hanging over play equipment at Matthews-Palmer Playground on June 5th 2011. It was repaired 354 days later on May 24th, 2012.
• A large tree limb was reported to be hanging over the 23rd street sidewalk at Asser Levy Playground on May 31st, 2011. It was fixed 370 days later on June 4th, 2012.
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