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Moms want upgrades for Ridgewood playground

Photos by Anthony Giudice

Updated June 17, 10:35 a.m.

Things aren’t so rosy at Rosemary’s Playground in Ridgewood, according to mothers Stephanie Sauer and Caroline Stark, who frequent the park with their children on a daily basis.

“This is the closest park for residents of this neighborhood,” Sauer said. “There are a lot of parents with young children that visit the park, as well as people of all ages and races.”

These two moms are looking for improvements to be made at Rosemary’s Playground so their playground can be comparable to other parks around the area. They addressed the issues directly to Community Board 5 during its meeting last week.

“I am wondering why this one is so neglected,” Sauer said in an interview Monday. “If you go to the park by Grover Cleveland or Juniper Valley Park and see how great those parks are, it makes me wonder why this playground is so ignored.”

Some of the problems Sauer and Stark have noticed at the park include peeling paint along some of the walls and playground equipment, potentially dangerous elevated flower beds, and trash in and around the playground, among several others.

The mothers believe the two elevated flower beds pose a danger to children, especially in the condition they are currently in.

“My kid was playing in the dirt and there was a large piece of peeling paint around him,” Stark said. “They are nothing but a hazard. We just tolerate it for now because there isn’t a better option.”

The vegetation that grows in these green spaces may not be the safest for the users of the park. In the flower beds, one has nothing but small plants and weeds growing in it while the other one has thorny bushes growing. The trees along the perimeter have berries growing off of them and the parents are concerned that their children might try and eat them.

“These berries are just growing here,” Sauer said. “We don’t know if they are edible if one of the children tries to put them in their mouth. Kids try to put everything in their mouths.”

Other parts of the park’s infrastructure are in need of repairs as well. The playground equipment is marred with peeling paint and damages.

“Some of this stuff looks like it has been through a war,” Sauer said. “It looks like it came from a war zone. This isn’t up to standards. We don’t have really high expectations, but we want a decent park to bring our children to.”

Garbage has also become a problem in the playground.

“I found an empty liquor bottle right in the middle of the floor,” Stark said. “I’m just lucky I noticed it first before my son did.”

Inside Rosemary’s Playground there is an open area with a soft-top surface that has no practical use for parkgoers.

“I would love to see maybe a nice grassy area with some bushes where people could come with a blanket and enjoy the day,” Sauer said of the void area.

The mothers plan on attending additional community board meetings until their concerns are addressed and their park is repaired.

“It’s not just us,” Sauer said. “We have a whole dedicated mommy and daddy team that want changes made to this park. If it is not one of us, someone will take our place at the community board meeting and speak out on these problems until they are fixed.”

Dorothy Lewandowski, Queens Parks commissioner, said that the Parks Department has reached out to Community Board 5 and community members who have voiced concerns about Rosemary’s Playground regarding this issue.

“Rosemary’s Playground is in need of some TLC and we’re committed to working with the community to make the changes they see for this park,” Lewandowski said in an email statement to the Ridgewood Times. “We look forward to meeting with park users to create both short- and long-term plans to address immediate maintenance needs and fully realize their vision for the space.”


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