Discuss Rufus King Park upgrades

As much of Rufus King Park remains roped off, torn up, and off-limits, citizens gathered in the Jamaica Neighborhood Center to discuss what the park should look like in the future.
“Rufus King Park is the only open space in downtown Jamaica,” said Jule Grant, director of the Jamaica Neighborhood Center, which sponsors the “Friends of Rufus Park” civic association.
When construction of the park is finished, citizens will be able to experience a new multi-purpose field and a drainage system that will help curb flooding.
“That park has been flooding for years and no one cared,” Grant said.
Despite the upgrades, many feel that there is still more that needs to be done to make the park a jewel in the area. Many voiced concerns about the cleanliness and safety.
Barbara Wright said the Parks Department does not clean the area every day and it often becomes overwhelmed with litter. Others voiced the same concern and said there is also a problem with people riding bicycles unsafely.
Many also expressed outrage with the Parks Department for the dirtiness and the lack of enforcement of rules.
“They don’t care because they don’t think the community cares,” Wright said.
Janet Barten said part of the reason the city might think the community doesn’t care is because there has been confusion with several different civic organizations offering plans to improve the park.
“Everyone came with the right heart, maybe the wrong mindset, but the right heart,” said Barten.
Two different groups, Centro Hispano and the Greater Jamaica Development Corporation - with the Friends of Rufus King Park as members - submitted different proposals on park improvements to the Kaplan Organization. The Kaplan organization provides money to help preserve and improve local parks.
Grant said the organization did not choose one-side over the other, but instead gave them a little money to work together to improve the park.
“Working on a small project was a stepping stone for unity,” Grant said.

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