From Uche Abanobi at Interactive Journalism:
Busted fences, cracked pathways, blown out lights- this is the scene at Frank M. Charles Memorial Park, a national park located by Jamaica Bay in Howard Beach.
Charles Park, which also includes the adjacent West Hamilton Beach Park, is a national preserve. It lies within the Gateway National Recreational Area and is owned by the National Park Service, a subsidiary of the U.S. Department of the Interior. This past month Will Shafroth, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Fish, Wildlife and Parks for the U.S. Department of Interior surveyed the park. He acknowledged that its features were more parallel with a city park, like the clay baseball field, playground, etc., which would make it more difficult for an NPS worker to maintain.
Earlier this year Congressman Gregory Meeks made a 2010 appropriations request for one million dollars towards Gateway National Parks Services regarding renovating Charles Park.
Despite this additional funding, the conditions at Charles Park have not improved. Fences, paths, lights are all still in disarray and no one seems to be able to account for the funds.
However, this is not the first time Charles Park has received large amounts of funding. In 2000, before the current redistricting, Congressman Anthony Weiner worked with Gateway NRA to secure one million dollars in funding to repair the park’s courts, fields, lighting, paths, etc.
“Congressman Anthony Weiner secured a one million dollar earmark. That money provided some repairs, but was not sufficient and was not in the view of some local residents distributed fairly between the two parks,” said Braton.