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At Lindower Park in Mill Basin, the grass and the trees are being uprooted by the birds and the bees.
But underage sex is just the tip of the iceberg at this park, located on Strickland Avenue, Mill Road, and East 60th Street, according to those who are familiar with the situation.
Teens aged 13-17 have allegedly been congregating at all hours in groups of up to 30, drinking—and later, driving—smoking, and using drugs.
Used condoms are becoming a more routine sight, and some kids even defecate on the park benches, according to a person whose relative is among the youthful congregants.
Drug dealers are also in the crowd, selling marijuana, as well as prescription drugs like Xanax and Oxycodone, according to the person, who requested anonymity for fear of reprisal.
“The drugs are an absolute nightmare,” the person said. “The parents in the neighborhood would rather have their children out in the streets so they can go to the tanning salons, get their nails done or go shopping.”
“They don’t care about their kids,” the person said.
The park has no lights, and is open at all hours.
That’s part of the problem, according to Susan McCormack, an Old Mill Basin resident.
“People are afraid. If you see 20 or 30 kids hanging out, are you going to walk by there?” she asked.
McCormack said a petition is being circulated asking the city to install lights and lock the park at dusk. As of last week, 81 signatures have already been gathered, she said.
At press time, the Department of Parks and Recreation did not return a call for comment.
McCormack said the situation has been going on for nearly a year. Local elected officials, including Councilmember Lew Fidler, State Senators Martin Golden, and Carl Kruger have asked to help solve the problem, she added.
Fidler said he has in the past been concerned about the condition of the park, allocating $500,000 for its rehabilitation last year. Another $500,000 is needed to get the project started, and the lawmaker said he is committed to securing it.
“For it to be misused is unacceptable,” Fidler said, adding that his staff is already working with the local police precinct to address the issue.
Kruger said the problems are not new. “We’ve been dealing with it on a piecemeal basis,” he said. “But the park really needs a real intensive beef-up.”
“It needs more attention and we are attempting to do something about it,” he added.
But lights might not be the answer, Kruger warned, noting that an illuminated park could invite more problems.
Captain Michael Giovanelli of the 63rd Precinct said cops perform routine patrols of the area, but none are stationed inside the park.
“We weren’t aware of complaints,” he said. “They may have called the news but they haven’t called us.”
“If we see anything, we take police action,” he noted.
Dorothy Turano, the district manager of Community Board 18, said her office hasn’t received any complaints about the park.
The person with a relative who hangs out in the park said the hope is that the teens find better ways to occupy their time.
“I’m not looking for the children to be arrested. I am looking for a safe place for these children, many of whom are lost,” the person said. “They need a safe place to go. If they have a drug problem, they need help. I don’t think they need to be put in jail and become another statistic.”
McCormack added: “Somebody has to take a stand. I’m not saying they are bad kids, but they can’t be allowed to ruin the neighborhood.”
©2008 Community Newspaper Group
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