Broken McKinley Park bathroom has local politicians flushed

For Dyker Heights Civic Association President FranVella-Marrone, when it comes to the bathrooms in McKinley Park,it’s the city that’s out of order.

For three years, the restrooms in the popular park, locatedalong Fort Hamilton Parkway and Bay Ridge Parkway, have beenunusable because of a cracked sewer line. Because the broken pipefalls between the park house and the main sewer line on SeventhAvenue, neither the Department of Parks & Recreation or theDepartment of Environmental Protection (DEP) will takeresponsibility for fixing the problem, she said. And so, thebathroom has remained closed.

It’s a bureaucratic entanglement, Vella-Marrone explained.This issue keeps getting pushed back between the two differentagencies.

Vella-Marrone said she suspects that a major reason this problemhas persisted for so long is that the Parks Department, on whoseproperty the broken pipe officially falls, is short of money. Butconsidering the relatively small repair required for fixing theproblem, she says someone just needs to step up and do it.

It’s a simple matter, Vella-Marrone said. It’s a pipe. We’renot talking about building a bathroom. We’re not talking aboutadding to the bathroom. We’re talking about replacing a pipe.

On May 31, Congressmember Michael Grimm wrote a letter to ParksCommissioner Adrian Benepe and DEP Commissioner Caswell Holloway,pleading for them to resolve the issue.

I understand that disputes frequently arise when differentgovernment agencies interact over funding issues, Grimm wrote.But I hope you will agree that it is time to move beyond thisbureaucratic squabbling and provide the people of Dyker Heights andBay Ridge with a fully functional city park.

Vella-Marrone, who has been working with Community Board 10 toresolve this issue, said she was pleased that Grimm decided to jointhe fight.

I’m happy to see that Congressman Grimm has been trying tobreak the logjam,’ Vella-Marone said.

But, according to Parks Department spokesperson Meghan Lalor,the logjam may have already broken.

A contract for repair to the comfort station is now beingfinalized and work is anticipated to being as early as next week,Lalor said.

And with temperatures climbing beyond the 90s last week, repairscan’t start soon enough, says Vella-Marrone.

Going through another summer season without a workingbathroom-it’s a shame, she exclaimed with noticeablefrustration.

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