Monday, June 22, 2009
Bland Park is a pig sty
From the Queens Chronicle:
Trash litters the benches and ground. Casino gamblers nap on play equipment. At Bland Playground, there’s no place to play.
Located outside Flushing’s Bland Houses at 40th Road and Prince Street, tenants say the playground is used more often by adults waiting for a bus than by children.
The problems abound: a trash-strewn play area, poor drainage, lack of policing, a location near a staging area for casino buses and an ignored 9 p.m. curfew.
Ralph Johnson has lived in Bland Houses since 1964. He taught his son to play basketball there. Now he calls the area a disgrace. “The problem has been around a long time, but nothing ever gets resolved and it’s gotten worse,” Johnson said.
Councilman John Liu (D-Flushing) is frustrated by the situation and blames it on lack of coordination among city agencies. “It’s a classic case of inter-agency finger-pointing,” Liu said.
The playground is run by the Parks Department, but he believes the police and Departments of Environmental Protection, Transportation, Sanitation and Health should also be involved.
“There are many contributing factors,” Liu said. “The trash doesn’t get picked up quickly and then the wind picks it up and blows it around,” he said. “You can’t blame it all on the gamblers.”
Johnson and Donald Henton, former president of the Bland Houses Tenants Association and an active community leader, say a lot more needs to be done at the playground.
“In the evening, the playground is supposed to be closed but the gate is always open,” Henton said. “There are drug dealings and prostitution.”