Friday, January 7, 2011

Resident Asks for Better Enforcement at Park By Eric Yun - Forum News

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A Ridgewood resident is urging his community to stop the rampant abuse at Grover Cleveland Park. During the summer, the park creates traffic nightmares, and park goers trash the park and drink alcohol illegally.

John Perricone started Ridgewood Residents for Grover Cleveland Park in early August. He lives around the block from the park, and he’s tired of the antics of unruly athletic leagues and other park users.

“The park gets overcrowded, there’s noise from parties, and illegal food vendors are there,” said Perricone. “Everyone should have the right to the park.”

In the height of the summer season, athletic leagues use the fields for games. Leagues must be registered with the Parks Department, and Perricone does not believe many of the groups have registered. He also suggested Parks should give preferences to leagues local to the neighborhood.

“If I want to play ball, I’m not going to travel all the way to Juniper Valley Park,” Perricone said. “Local groups should be given preference with park permits.”

Problems with athletic leagues have led to traffic nightmares. Cars are constantly double parked on Stanhope Street and block fire hydrants and driveways. Perricone says his neighbors have been threatened when they politely asked people to move their cars.

Perricone said problems with parking could be alleviated if police removed illegal food vendors. Vendors are not allowed to operate within 75 feet of a public park. The 104th Precinct has said that police officers have issued summons to illegal vendors but many are properly licensed to sell at the park.

Perricone wishes there was a better relationship between the Parks Department, the 104th Precinct and the community. “When you contact Parks they say they are trying to get more patrol, and when you contact the police they say you have to contact Parks,” he said.

While the park is quiet during the winter months, Perricone hopes to gather enough community support to stop the illegal activity by the summer. Working closely with Citizens for a Better Ridgewood, he has started a Facebook page and contacted elected officials.

By the spring, when the permit process begins, Perricone hopes to meet with the Parks Department to discuss ways to ease the strain the community feels. The best way to accomplish the goals is to have a huge amount of community support and stories, he said.

To join Ridgewood Residents for Grover Cleveland Park, visit its website at