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Parks nix Woody McHale renaming

By Alex Robinson

The city’s Parks Department has rejected a fire marshal’s request to rename a playground in Fort Totten after a fallen colleague.

Community Board 7 had approved the marshal’s proposal to rename the play structure across from their facility after Martin “Woody” McHale, who died of a heart attack on his way home from work Christmas Eve 2012.

A spokesman for Parks said the department did not approve the request as parks are typically only renamed after an individual “who has made a significant contribution to the site or to Parks in general.”

“There’s no name on this playground so what’s the big deal?” said Gene Kelty, chairman of CB 7 and a battalion chief at the Fire Department, who knew McHale,

Kelty said he was upset with the decision as Parks have not provided the community board with clear criteria for renamings in the past.

McHale served on the FDNY for 23 years before suffering a premature death at 50.

Parks said they have encouraged CB 7 to help maintain the playground in McHale’s memory through their “Adopt-A-Park” program.

Reach reporter Alex Robinson by e-mail at arobinson@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4566.

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