Grover Cleveland Park Dominates CBR Meeting

Citizens for a Better Ridgewood has been proactive in alerting the 104th Precinct and the Parks Department about problems at Grover Cleveland Park. Michael Hetzer, representing the group, said the goal is to voice complaints to various departments before the end of the summer, when it is too late for officials to rectify problems.

Rene Herrera, new community parks manager for Community Boards 5 and 6, and Community Affairs Officer Thomas Bell listened and promised to look for solutions.

Herrera said his new office will be in Grover Cleveland Park, and he encouraged residents to visit so he can address concerns.

At last month’s meeting, in response to complaints, Helaine Soressi from Parks alerted residents that the amount and type of athletic and food vendor permits issued would be modified. Residents had complained that athletic leagues overcrowd the park, and many players illegally parked and did not clean up after themselves.

This month, quality of life issues surrounding the park took center stage.

Specifically, there were complaints of rowdy teens using the park at night to drink alcohol and smoke. Bell said these complaints should be called to 311 so the police could look into it.

However, some felt that no matter how many calls are sent to 311—whether it’s about rowdy kids, illegally parked cars or public urination—police never arrive.

“There’s no police presence in that park,” one resident complained.

John Perricone, a leading community activist for improving the park, said he hopes to streamline communications with Parks and the 104th Precinct. He urged residents to document all complaints and forward them to him. He said this would help the community present a unified list of issues.

Bell said this was a good idea, but he reminded residents that 311 should still be called. This allows the police department to follow up and report on how they handled the issue.

Road Rules and Crime Report

The 104th Precinct Community Council meeting was held in conjunction with this month’s Citizen for a Better Ridgewood meeting.

Bell relayed the crime statistics thus far in the area. There has been a big spike in grand larcenies, 116 this year versus 89 at this time last year. Car thefts are also up with 71 grand larceny autos versus 63 last year. Burglaries and robberies, however, are down.

“Most grand larcenies are fraud-related,” Bell said. Identity theft and unauthorized credit card use is an easy crime to commit, and he warned residents to stay alert.

Hetzer, President of the 104th Precinct Community Council, said there was a simple solution to help prevent identity theft: “Shred everything with your name on it.” He also said key cards used for hotels should not be returned because they sometimes retain credit card information.

Bell also discussed rules governing bicycle riding. He reiterated that the same rules apply for all vehicles. Bicyclists going the wrong way on one way streets, riding on the sidewalk or failing to stop at red lights are breaking the law.

“There’s going to be a substantial amount of enforcement now,” Bell said.

-Written by Eric Yun



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