Today’s news:

Getting Erosion Control Project on Track

Efforts by one local organization to beautify Owls Head Park, and stem some of the erosion occurring there, are butting up against a March 2010 deadline.

A couple of years back, Friends and Neighbors of Owls Head Park had received a $42,000 Kaplan Grant to use in the park, at Colonial Road and 68th Street. While half of the money has been spent, the remaining $21,000 has yet to be allocated to a project, and the group will lose that money, said Bernadette Hoban, the organization’s founder, if it is not spent by March.

Hoban and the group had worked with a local nursery, Shannon Florist, on Fort Hamilton Parkway, to develop a plan that would use low-maintenance native plants to enhance the area along the 68th Street side of the park, between Owls Head Court and Shore Road, where severe erosion has occurred. As part of the plan, a staircase would also be installed on the slope where people now have “made their own staircase,” said Hoban.

The improvements are critically needed, Hoban stressed. ”For years, every time it rains, it becomes a waterfall,” she noted.The plants, she explained, “will backfill the area. Now it’s a horrible eyesore.”

The heavy rains of the previous weekend, Hoban added, “are a perfect example. You see dirt getting pushed down the street from the rain.” Adding shrubbery will help to prevent that, she noted.

“We don’t want a Band-Aid solution,” Hoban emphasized. “We want something that will actually last.”

The issue came up during the September meeting of Community Board 10, which was held at Shore Hill, 9000 Shore Road, with board members concerned about the looming deadline.

“The Parks Department has not approved the design nor enabled this project to move along,” noted Parks Committee Chairperson Eleanor Petty when she reported on the issue, whereupon board members-- who, for years, have made erosion control at the park one of their top budget priorities -- voted to write to the city’s Department of Parks & Recreation expressing support for the project.

One could almost imagine that the agency was listening in. The day after the meeting, Hoban said, she had received a call from someone in the Parks Department about moving the project forward.

In addition, Phil Abramson, a spokesperson for the agency, told this paper that the agency was interested in learning about the project.

While, he noted, Brooklyn Parks Commissioner Julius Spiegel hadn’t yet seen the design plans, “We would love to have the discussion with the community board and Ms. Hoban about the plans,” Abramson noted, though, he stressed, “Any plans would have to be reviewed by us to make sure they are consistent with our design standards.”

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