New York City

Majority of NYC Public Housing Playgrounds Not Maintained: Audit

The audit found that 70 percent of the playgrounds were not properly maintained

What to Know

  • A new report by the city comptroller says 70 percent of public housing playgrounds are not properly maintained
  • Nearly 10 percent of the playgrounds are hazardous to kids; an audit found broken play equipment and jagged edges, among other issues
  • The audit also says inspections of the playgrounds were never done, left blank or falsified

Hundreds of playgrounds at New York City public housing developments were not properly maintained or had visible hazards, according to a review by the city.

In a scathing audit released Wednesday, Comptroller Scott Stringer also accuses the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) of filing false reports that stated safe and clean conditions even when playgrounds had missing or busted equipment.

The new audit found that out of 788 playgrounds at NYCHA complexes, 72 (nearly 10 percent) were visibly damaged and 549 (about 70 percent) were not properly maintained.

Among the hazardous conditions found, according to Stringer: missing and broken play equipment, including some with jagged edges; loose and deteriorated safety surfacing; tripping hazards; debris; erosion; and unkempt vegetation.

"We assume when they're going down a slide, they're not going to get stabbed in the back or they're not going to have their leg ripped," Stringer said at a press conference Wednesday. 

Even worse, Stringer says some playground inspections were either never done, left blank or falsified.

"We found bogus, fundamentally false, inspection reports," he said at the press conference. 

NYCHA says they’ve made repairs, but Stringer is demanding an immediate overhaul.

“Not next month. Not next year. This is not going to be ‘lead paint two,’” Stringer said, referring to the city’s admission last fall that NYCHA failed to perform annual lead inspections.

Stringer said that while deficiencies were found in a majority of the playgrounds, 30 percent of them – or 239 playgrounds – were in good or satisfactory condition at the time of the inspections.

“Those playgrounds reflect that a significant number of NYCHA developments provide their residents with safe, pleasant outdoor play areas for their children’s enjoyment. However, that was not the prevailing condition we found in most of NYCHA’s playgrounds,” the audit reads.

In a statement, NYCHA didn't address the bogus inspection allegations, but vowed new inspections within 90 days.

“We have accepted most of the recommendations and are working towards implementing them now,” the statement read.

When asked Wednesday, Mayor de Blasio said it was his first time hearing about the audit, but he vowed to take a closer look.

"We'll look at what [Stringer's] found. We'll look at what inspections have been done. If we feel anything additional needs to be done, we will," the mayor said.

To read the audit in full and see the comptroller’s list of recommendations, go here.

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