Gledis Duma and Zipi Green, who said they both live about a block away, were enjoying a beautiful afternoon with their kids in Slope Park on Wednesday, March 21. Both said, however, that they normally make the 20-minute trip to Prospect Park, because it is nicer and safer for their kids to play in.
“It's completely concrete, there's no green,” Duma said of why Slope Park needs a renovation. “It's not safe.”
Currently, the park is comprised of three jungle gyms, a swing set, a bathroom and a rather expansive seating plaza lined with wooden benches. The park is located next to the schoolyard for P.S. 295/M.S. 443.
Green and Duma said the park needs rubber flooring and a safer water area, since the existing one is also made of concrete.
Green added that the jungle gyms have large gaps between the metal bars, which kids can easily fall through. In addition, a lot of space in the park is underutilized, she added.
“It's just concrete everywhere,” Green said, watching youngsters run around the park. “You have to watch them if they fall.”
According to a Parks Department representative, funding for the renovation was secured by Councilwoman Sara Gonzalez, and construction is expected to start in April.
The renovations will include multi-level decks for climbing and seating, a new water area and several new jungle gyms, with one for toddlers.
In addition, the representative said safety flooring will be installed in the new playground.
Nancy Tranter, who also brought her kids to play in Slope Park last Wednesday, said her daughter will start kindergarten at P.S. 295 in September.
Tranter said she comes to the park every other day, and would be thrilled with a renovation because Prospect Park is too far to bring her two-year-old.
She added that the park should reflect the school's changes by catering to younger kids.
“There's way too much concrete,” she said.
“And there's a slight maintenance problem,” Tranter added, pointing to exposed wires in a light post next to the bathroom.
“I just think it would be nice if it were safer,” she said. “Anything re-done is great.”
Aaron Brashear, of the Concerned Citizens of Greenwood Heights, said there are a number of pocket parks in the area that could use renovations.
To prepare, community groups that use Slope Park are looking for other temporary sites to meet while it is closed, and parents are organizing play dates.
“A lot of the folks in the community basically have said this park needs upgrading,” he said.