Last week, when news broke that Gov. David Paterson would be shuttering East River State Park for three months this winter due to budget cuts, a few localBrooklyn blogs expressed concern. Williamsburg residents are limited in their open spaces - mainly sticking to McCarren Park and the miniature waterfront space at Grand Ferry Park. So, it's unsurprising that Assembly Joe Lentol was "outraged" upon learning that the park's doors were closing.
He told the Brooklyn Paper he "promised to fight to keep the tiny green space open — especially considering that other parks upstate are facing less severe service reductions, like the cancellation of snow plowing." Yesterday, Curbed said Lentol was "on the verge of cutting a deal that would let the park stay open".
After speaking with the Parks Department however, it seems that "verge" might be a bit of a strong word to use. When I spoke with the Dept. of Parks this morning, they weren't denying nor confirming anything. They told me there wasn't too much to report, but they can confirm Commissioner Ash had a conversation with Assemblyman Joe Lentol, and the she greatly appreciates his support of the park and the community.
However, they haven't come to any decision yet. I asked how likely it is, and was told it's a feasibility question at this point. They are listening to Assemblyman Lentol, and again, appreciate his interest, but at the same time they have a plan in place that also affects 75 other parks across the state, and the economic realities haven't really changed.
That's a bummer, as East River State Park is huge, and would give Williamsburg residents a nice place to take in the brisk river winds ripping across the river throughout the winter. If maintenance is a problem, Nag reports that Lentol is saying the district would take care of it. So where this will net out, we've yet to see.
Things are looking up in the sense that all parties are talking, but it's hard to say if the gates will remain open past January. Winter lovers should be bummed too, because if it snows, there's even a tiny little hill in there, so some might miss their chance for a two-foot sled ride! That's the biggest shame of it all.