After parkgoers raised issues with the conditions at Rosemary’s Playground in Ridgewood, Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley met with concerned parents at the playground Friday to hear their plea and see what improvements could be made.
Stephanie Sauer and Caroline Stark formed the group Let’s Fix Rosemary’s Playground to address the community’s issues with the park. Since its inception, the group has gained over 150 likes on its Facebook page, proving that this issue is a major concern residents who frequent the park.
Approximately 20 parents and residents came out to the park to support the cause and voice their concerns to Crowley. Users of the playground brought up issues concerning the elevated flower beds, the deteriorating playground equipment and what could be done with the open space area of the park that currently has no use.
“The elevated flower beds are our number one issue with the playground,” Sauer said. “Kids climb into the elevated flower bed and we are nervous of the pesticides used in them. Our kids also climb up there and run around. They could fall and hurt themselves.”
Some parents suggested planting shrubs up to the edge of the flower beds so children would not be able to access them, or removing them completely.
“What is the benefit of having these plants?” asked Ben Brown, a resident of the area that uses the playground. “You could use the space better. It’s just wasted space at this point. It’s not providing shade or anything.”
After presenting their concerns, the parents asked Crowley where funding for the proposed changes could be found.
“Things don’t happen overnight in the city,” Crowley told the parents. “Let’s look for funding. Looking for funding is the first step. Then we can start looking at a long-term plan.”
The members of Let’s Fix Rosemary’s Playground understand that this process will take time and results are not going to be seen immediately.
“We don’t think that things will change tomorrow,” Stark said. “We just want to set a plan in action.”
“We have realistic expectations,” Sauer added. “We don’t expect things to get done tomorrow, or cheaply.”
Now that the issues have been raised, Crowley noted, an expert from the Parks Department needs to inspect the park and determine which changes could be made and how much the changes would cost.
“The next step, before I can move any further is to have professionals come and evaluate the park,” Crowley said. “Having the Parks Department let us know how much it would cost is a good first step.”
Crowley invited the members of Let’s Fix Rosemary’s Playground to a meeting in July at her office to continue the conversation and see what the next step in the process of getting repairs to the playground.