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Grass is greener some say - Critics see disparity in the maintenance of Prospect Park

For some residents, the maintenance of the southern perimeter of Prospect Park raises a huge question – is that side of the park getting short shrift compared to areas of the park adjacent to other neighborhoods?

At the September meeting of Community Board 14, Ditmas Park West resident Candace Hamilton brought the query to the fore.

“I’ve noticed huge discrepancies in how the perimeter is maintained between Prospect Park West and Prospect Park Southwest, and the area bordered by Beverley Square and Ditmas Park and Ditmas Park West,” along Parkside Avenue, Ocean Avenue and Flatbush Avenue, Hamilton told her listeners, gathered at Edward R. Murrow High School, Avenue L and East 17th Street.

“There’s no excuse for why Prospect Park West and Southwest are so beautiful and how, right across the street from the Parade Grounds, there’s no proper entrance to the park,” Hamilton went on. “The area is not maintained. There is not one receptacle for trash. The grounds are not maintained as lovingly as in other neighborhoods. The places to sit look terrible.

“We pay taxes in these areas just as much, I’m sure, as they pay in Prospect Park West or Prospect Park Southwest,” Hamilton went on. “We use the park. We love it. Our children use it. Our families use it. We try to maintain it. I’m hoping there will be a change.”

Eugene Patron, a spokesperson for the Prospect Park Alliance (PPA), said that appearances can be deceiving.

“The Parks Department addresses maintenance and care using zones within the park,” Patron explained. “They don’t allocate resources based on geography. All areas throughout the park are treated the same. Every area has to meet standards. There is total equity in how they go about taking care of things.”

That being said, the different uses that exist in different parts of the park can result in appearances of inequity, Patron contended.

“There are many more big picnic sites on that side of the park, so, on weekends, you get a lot more traffic of people doing that kind of activity,” Patron said of the park’s southern edge, pointing out that there is more detritus associated with picnicking than with activities that take place in areas such as the Long Meadow.

In addition, Patron pointed out that PPA is pushing forward with the $75 million Lakeside Center, “on that side of the park. So,” he stressed, “we’re certainly looking to invest money in that area.”

By press time, the Parks Department had not responded to a request for comment.

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