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HERMAN D. FARRELL, JR
Assemblymember 71st District
2541-55 Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. Blvd.
New York, NY 10039
TEL (212) 568-2828
FAX (212) 928-4177

Farrell Working to Improve Community Parks

Over the last several years, I have made a point of directing state funds - your tax dollars - for the purpose of bringing our community's local parks up to par and keeping them in a state of good repair. Because of the scope and cost of these projects, this work tends to move at a very slow pace and each upgrade can take several years to accomplish. This page, supplemented by my mailings to your homes, will allow me to keep you posted about work in your local parks.


July 10, 2014

Farrell and Levine Fighting to Improve Riverside Park

Assemblyman Farrell joined City Council Member Mark Levine and other officials and community leaders to introduce a new effort intended to keep Riverside Park and other green areas of the City clean of trash that is left behind by some park users. In recent months, many have complained that some park users blare loud music and overfill the small number of trash cans in Riverside Park.

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Assemblyman Farrell and City Council Member Mark Levine, who is Chair of the Parks Committee, announce a new initiative to keep Riverside Park clean.

Working with Mayor de Blasio, City Council Member Levine obtained funding to hire more Parks workers, and by partnering with Parks Department Manhattan Borough Commissioner Adrian Castro, cleaning workers' schedules were changed to allow for speedier cleanups and let the public more fully enjoy this beautiful public space. Also, police will increase patrols of park areas to help insure that park patrons comply with the rules, and more garbage cans have been added to the park to help reduce any overflows of trash.

"I stand with Councilman Levine and other members of the community who wish to see our public parks as beautiful and serene places that all New Yorkers and visitors to our City may enjoy," Assemblyman Farrell said. "For many years, I have worked with the Police Department and others to control problems with noise and litter in the parks in my District, and we will fight to bring the problems in Riverside Park under control."


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HERMAN D. FARRELL, JR.
Assemblyman 71st District

Room 923
Legislative Office Building
Albany, NY 12248
(518) 455-5491
(518) 455-5776 FAX

THE ASSEMBLY
STATE OF NEW YORK
ALBANY
CHAIRMAN
Ways and Means Committee

COMMITTEES
Rules
Black & Puerto Rican Caucus

April 4, 2013

William T. Castro, Manhattan Borough Commissioner
NYC Department of Parks and Recreation
24 West 64th Street
New York, NY 10023

Dear Commissioner Castro,

I am writing to thank you for the Department of Parks and Recreation's work to replace the old metal barriers along Lower Riverside Drive between 158th Street and 160th Street with the new wooden barriers, which are a wonderful improvement. While it would seem that a great deal of back-and-forth was required to reach a successful outcome, I believe that the finished product is worth the investment of time and effort.

Once the Department has completed cleaning up after last year's "Superstorm Sandy," I propose we turn our attention to the finishing touches that are required in this area. As you may know, I recently discussed these needed improvements with your deputy, Steve Simon, who worked very hard to accomplish the initial work. Please find enclosed photos of the problem areas, which are between Riverside Drive, Upper and Lower, and from 158th Street to 161st Street.

Specifically, I would ask that the dead trees and overgrowth in the park be cleaned-up and re-seeded. Also, the broken stone retaining walls along Lower Riverside Drive between the steps and 161st and the caved-in metal guardrail be repaired, which the Department and I previously agreed would be repaired, and the dead trees which have been laying on the ground for some time be removed. Also, the slope between the upper stone wall and the lower wall has been allowed to deteriorate and will need to be repaired in the near future.

While I know that you and your employees are still busy, as spring approaches, I believe this project should be dealt with as soon as possible so we may best enjoy pleasant views of this part of the community. Please expect to hear from me by phone soon regarding these matters or, if you prefer, we can set up a meeting to discuss this project. In either case, I look forward to continuing our discussion.

Yours truly,

Herman D. Farrell, Jr.
Member of Assembly

Cc: Steve Simon






July 10, 2012

Riverbank State Park Carousel Opens for the Season
Historic Attraction was Designed by Children

Riverbank State Park's historic "Totally Kid" Carousel, which was repaired and re-opened several years ago, has been re-opened this year during weekend afternoon hours for the summer season, Assemblyman Farrell announced.

The carousel, which was designed by children, conceived by artist Milo Mottola and built in the late 1990s, was repaired and refurbished in 2009, officially opening for use that September. It is located near the 145th Street entrance to the park.

Below, Assemblyman Farrell is shown speaking and children riding the refurbished reindeer, flamingo, frog and other characters during the September 18, 2009 re-opening ceremony.

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July 5, 2012
Farrell Attends Riverbank Re-Opening Ceremony
Park Upgrades Paid For Through $5.2M State Grant

On Friday, June 29, Assemblyman Farrell joined Senator Perkins, State staff and dozens of members of the community for an afternoon ribbon-cutting ceremony that officially re-opened newly renovated areas of Riverbank State Park. In April, Farrell joined Governor Cuomo in announcing that the 2012-2013 State budget included a $5.2 million grant to replace Riverbank's old athletic field, along with other important and necessary upgrades at the popular Park.

photo Assemblyman Farrell speaks during a June 29 event at Riverbank State Park.

Aside from the athletic fields upgrades are slated for the track and gym floor, which are used by hundreds of thousands of patrons each year. Also slated are a new structure to shade the skating rink's ice which suffers from exposure to the sun even in the coldest weather, and rehabilitation of the Park's hot water system which has not been improved since the park opened in 1993.

photo Assemblyman Farrell, Senator Perkins, dozens of young athletes and other community members are shown here moments before Riverbank State Park re-opened.

Overall, Governor Cuomo's New York Works Task Force of which Farrell is a member, having been appointed by Speaker Silver, is slated to perform $83 million in renovations at Riverbank and other State parks. The initiative's goal is to put New Yorkers back to work by making strategic investments to improve roads and bridges, municipal water systems, and public sites including parks and historic places.

NY Works was approved by the Legislature this spring, and will coordinate $1.3 billion in State funding and up to $25 billion in funding from the Federal government, private companies and other sources to pay for needed infrastructure projects and create jobs.

According to the State Office of Parks, recreation and Historic Preservation, Riverbank will be the first NY Works Project to be completed.


Seal
HERMAN D. FARRELL, JR.
Assemblyman 71st District

Room 923
Legislative Office Building
Albany, NY 12248
(518) 455-5491
(518) 455-5776 FAX

THE ASSEMBLY
STATE OF NEW YORK
ALBANY
CHAIRMAN
Ways and Means Committee

COMMITTEES
Rules
Black & Puerto Rican Caucus

May 9 2012

Commissioner William T. Castro
Manhattan Borough Commissioner
NYC Department of Parks and Recreation
24 West 61st Street
New York, NY 10023

Dear Commissioner Castro,

I am writing for two reasons, first to request a meeting during which we may discuss the Department of Parks and Recreation's plans to address repair projects during the summer season, and secondly to call your attention to several problem areas near and within Riverside Park.

Please find enclosed several photos, which I took during a visit to Riverside Park on Saturday, April 21. These show, in the order in which they are enclosed, the entrance to the southernmost parking area, the swinging gate leading to the parking area, and a section of roadway a short distance north of the southernmost parking area. All of the areas depicted are within roughly 1,000 feet of each other.

As you may clearly see in these photographs, in these areas the railing has been damaged or knocked down entirely. Because of this, their function as a border has been compromised, and aesthetically they are an eyesore compared to the beautiful parkland around them. While I do not know if these items are already on your Department's to-do list, I would appreciate it very much if they could be added to the list of projects slated for completion this season.

As I said above, I look forward to meeting with you at your first convenience so that we may discuss these and other pending repairs face to face. Please expect a call from a member of my staff, who will be reaching out within the next few days in order to set up a meeting.

Yours truly,

H. D. Farrell, Jr.
Member of Assembly

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October 21, 2011

Farrell, Jackson Present Clinkscales Family with Check For New Park and Community Garden

City Council Member Robert Jackson and Assemblyman Farrell today presented a ceremonial $1.2 million check to the family of the late Robert Clinkscales, with whom they have worked for years to construct a half-acre park including a community garden for seniors on 146th Street between Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. Blvd (7th Ave.) and Frederick Douglass Blvd (8th Ave.).

"Now that financing for this wonderful community benefit has been secured, we can at last move forward toward construction," Assemblyman Farrell said. "I thank Councilman Jackson for his unwavering support, and look forward to the groundbreaking ceremony planned for this spring."

Friday's event was attended by NYC Parks Manhattan Commissioner William T. Castro (in hat) and several generations of the Clinkscales family.

photo Assemblyman Farrell and Councilman Jackson are shown here presenting the family of the late Robert Clinkscales with a ceremonial check. Katharine Clinkscales, widow of the new park's namesake, is shown in sunglasses to the right of the Councilman. Frederick Wilson, who worked with Mr. Clinkscales on the early stages of project, stands to her left.

Robert Clinkscales was involved in a project that began in the late 1990s and was intended to end with the construction of a community playground for children aged three to eight. In the years that followed the Clinkscales family and Frederick Wilson, who was then President of the 146th Street Tenants Association, worked with Councilman Jackson and the Parks Department to secure land and funding to build the playground.



August 13, 2010

Farrell Working to Open Youth Center

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Assemblyman Farrell recently visited a community center built several years ago between the Polo Grounds and Rangel Houses which never opened. The construction inspector who checked the building for problems recently ran into legal trouble, and this building has been judged unsafe. Several construction problems have been identified and are in the process of being corrected. Here, NYC Housing Authority staff explain to Assemblyman Farrell how these problems will be corrected. Shown, from left, are NYCHA Deputy Program Director for Manhattan Project Unit Nicholas Maranzano, Assemblyman Farrell, and Hugh Spence, NYCHA Deputy General Manager for Community Operations.


May 28, 2010

Riverbank Open Full Time

Legislation passed by the Assembly in the early morning hours of Friday, May 28 will allow State parks including Riverbank State Park in Northern Manhattan to open in time for the Memorial Day holiday. In the days prior to this action, hours at Riverbank had been scaled back and other parks closed entirely.

"Despite the state's fiscal problems, there are some areas that we simply cannot cut," Assemblyman Herman D. Farrell, Jr. said. "The measure passed by the Assembly today will ensure that some of New York's greatest assets - our state parks - remain open for our families to enjoy throughout the summer season. Constituents deserve to have continued access to these beautiful, outdoor recreational activities."

Overall, the Assembly bill will provide $11 million to ensure that all state parks and several campgrounds operated by the Department of Environmental Conservation remain open through the end of the season. In February, the state Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation announced 41 state parks and 14 historic sites would close due to the state's financial crisis.

To pay for the parks, the Assembly legislation modernizes the way fees charged for disposal of hazardous waste are calculated. Under the old system, smaller waste producers are charged higher fees than large-scale producers. The new system ends this inequality while also providing incentives for companies to reduce production of toxic chemicals that are harmful to the environment.

Also included in this legislation is a provision that establishes an electronic waste recycling program, which has long been supported by the Assembly. This program would require manufacturers that sell certain electronic equipment, including computers, televisions and digital music players, to set up and carry out plans to take back and recycle these items. This should cut down on the amount of hazardous waste that is deposited in landfills.




Farrell, Wright, O'Donnell Fighting to Save Riverbank State Park

Assembly Members Herman D. Farrell, Jr., Keith L.T. Wright and Daniel O'Donnell recently wrote on behalf of the Northern Manhattan community to Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver in support of overturning proposed cuts to Riverbank State Park's budget. The proposed cuts would have a dramatically negative effect on park operations, including reduced hours and closure of the outdoor swimming pool. The Assembly later voted in favor of restoring most of the funding 91 State Parks, including Riverbank, will need to remain open to the public.

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New 'Play Street' on 159th Opens for Summer
July 29, 2009
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Assemblyman Farrell greets Wendy Garcia, a 159th Street area resident and employee of the Borough President's office, and her son, Carlos Andreas Rodriguez. During the summer months, other children will attend supervised play activities in the street under a program jointly run by CLOTH and the NYPD Police Athletic League.

A section of 159th Street between Amsterdam Avenue and Broadway will be used during daylight hours as a "play street" for the rest of the summer of 2009 after Community League of the Heights (CLOTH) and the NYPD's Police Athletic League were granted a permit to close the street for the use of the children.

According to CLOTH Executive Director Yvonne Stennett, a group of 46 volunteers taking part in a Deutsche Bank corporate training exercise built games along the "play street," which will be used by local children for a series of structured activities during July and August. However, the groups had some difficulty in obtaining from the Department of Transportation a permit that would allow them to close the street to vehicles.

Assemblyman Farrell, who visited the site to inspect the volunteers' work, heard CLOTH and the PAL had not yet received their permit. Calling the DOT commissioner responsible for issuing that permit, Margaret Forgione, Assemblyman Farrell invited the commissioner to visit the site to verify that problems she had earlier identified had been corrected. Forgione visited the site the following Monday and the street permit was issued.


146th Street Park in the Works
July 23, 2009
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Among a number of active parks and recreation projects Assemblyman Farrell is participating in is a planned park of one half-acre at 146th Street between Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. Blvd. (7th Ave.) and Frederick Douglass Blvd. (8th Ave.) which may be built in memory of the late Robert Clinkscales. A July 2009 meeting on this subject at the Jackie Robinson Park and Recreation Center, which included NYC Parks architects and Parks Manhattan division Chief of Staff Steve Simon along with several members of the community, is pictured here.

Though plans for the Clinkscales Community Park have not yet been finalized, construction is tentatively scheduled to begin in 2010 and end during the Spring of 2011. Current plans call for the park to feature full accessibility for persons with disabilities, including a scent garden for persons living with visual impairments, along with other amenities.


New Hudson River Park
June 11, 2009
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Attending the ceremony opening a new Hudson River park were (pictured from left to right) Community Board 9 chair Pat Jones; Assemblyman Daniel J. O'Donnell; Congressman Charles B. Rangel; Manhattan Borough President Scott M. Stringer; NYC Parks Commissioner Adrain Benepe; Assemblyman Farrell (at mic).

Farrell Among Speakers Opening Piers Park
photo Governor Paterson was among those who spoke at the dedication of West Harlem Piers Park on Saturday, May 30.

West Harlem Piers Park, a two-acre site between 125th and 135th Streets, was opened during a ribbon-cutting ceremony Saturday, May 30. The park connects West Harlem to the Hudson River Greenway and includes docking and fishing piers, bicycle and pedestrian paths, public art and landscaped open space. The ceremony, which was held where the original piers stood, was widely attended by community activists who had fought to build the park and also by some of the community’s elected officials.

"I remember that as a child, during the summer we would take the Amsterdam Avenue trolley to the 125th Street cross-town trolley which brought us to the piers, where the ferry would take us across the Hudson to the Palisades Amusement Park. There were always people coming and going, always a lot of children, so it’s nice to have this bright and shiny park and pier to bring the community back to the river," Assemblyman Herman D. Farrell, Jr. said.

photo Assemblyman Farrell speaks to the group of community members and activists who attended the dedication of Piers Park.

Assemblyman Farrell was joined at the park opening ceremony by community members and public officials including Governor Paterson, the mayor, Congressman Charles B. Rangel, Assemblyman Daniel O’Donnell, Councilman Robert Jackson and Manhattan Borough President Scott M. Stringer. Parts of the park had been open since the previous fall, but the park area is now fully accessible.

"This project began for me in 1993, when I started working with Vince Tese, who was then head of the Urban Development Corporation, which is today the Empire State Development Corporation," Assemblyman Farrell said. "We were trying to get funding to replace the original piers so that the Circle Line could stop and pick up passengers. With the change of administrations in 1994, I was not able to get them involved at that time, though they later took up the cause. I am glad to see that the concept has grown to include both a park and a pier."

photo Assemblyman Farrell greets two community members who attended the park’s opening ceremony.

Piers Park, which was previously a parking area for the Fairway Market, was built at a cost of $20 million as an effort to rehabilitate the half-mile-long lot into an attractive and accessible waterfront area for public use. Funding for the project came from the City, State and Federal governments, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, Borough President Stringer’s office, the City Council and the Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone.

"This new beautiful park is good news for West Harlem residents who have worked long and hard to reclaim access to our magnificent riverfront," Borough President Stringer said. "Our city green space is a symbol of the city’s recent prosperity and we have to make sure we support and fund our parks, even during an economic downturn."

photo Assemblyman Farrell thanks Cecil Corbin-Marks of WE ACT and Community Board 9 Chairwoman Pat Jones for their years of hard work on the Piers Park project. Both organizations contributed to the rehabilitation of a former parking lot into an attractive riverfront.

In addition to providing a safe and managed venue for riverside activities in West Harlem, Piers Park connects trails that stretch from the Battery to Dyckman Street, continuing the waterfront’s ongoing transformation from industrial to recreational use. Among the organizations that collaborated to bring the project to fruition were the Economic Development Corporation, Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone, WE ACT for Environmental Justice and Community Board 9.

"This project serves as a model of what can be accomplished when everyone pulls together for the good of the community," CB 9 Chair Pat Jones said.

"I am happy to see that everyone’s hard work has resulted in such a beautiful addition to the West Harlem neighborhood," Assemblyman Farrell said. "I look forward to visiting Piers Park during the summer months to watch the community enjoy it."

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Assemblyman Farrell's Commitment to Community Improvements
June 28, 2007
Riverside - Ft. Washington Park Pedestrian Ramp Opens!
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Assemblyman Farrell is joined by DOT workers, local officials, community leaders and neighbors, including (L-R) Mini Varghese, Department of Transportation Design Engineer; Douglas Currey, New York State DOT Regional Director; Edith Prentice of Community Board 12; City Councilman Robert Jackson; Matthew Sapolin of the New York City Mayor's Office for People with Disabilities; Maurice Bruet, New York City DOT Deputy Commissioner; Manhattan Parks Commissioner Bill Castro; and Ed Lewis, New York City Parks Assistant Commissioner for Community Relations.

Improved access at 158th Street
As summer gets into full swing, Assemblyman Farrell is continuing his campaign to improve access to Manhattan's Ft. Washington/Riverside Park for pedestrians, bicyclists, families with strollers and those with limited mobility.

On May 24 Assemblyman Farrell cut the ribbon on a newly-built ramp into the park from the West Side Highway at 158th Street, for which he secured funding through the State Department of Transportation. A set of stairs from outer Riverside Drive to the ramp's entrance on the Highway is also being refurbished, and a ramp added to it as well.

The hilly topography of the surrounding area made building access points into the park from the neighborhoods above naturally difficult; that the original project predates by some 70 years the Americans with Disabilities Act has left an unfortunate legacy that Farrell has been working to end.

In 1996, Farrell began to explore constructing a pedestrian bridge into the park from Riverside Drive. Eventually, a site at 153rd Street was selected, and the concept for the bridge - a grand arched stone structure styled after Robert Moses' original designs - eventually became, at Farrell's request, part of the State Department of Transportation's 2005-2010 capital plan. And while the funding is in place, the designs are still under review by the New York City Art Commission. Both ramps and the planned bridge are compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Repairs and Renovations
Dec. 21, 2006
145th St. Harlem-Bronx Bridge
This bridge has been undergoing a complete renovation, which is expected to be completed by Summer 2007. During the process, neighbors were complaining about noise during the night resulting from the demolition of the bridge's concrete. To remedy this, Assemblyman Farrell, through negotiations with the city Department of Transportation, helped encourage the use of a sound-dampening tent to curb the noise. More recent reports from neighbors suggest the tent is helping. The work appears to be continuing according to schedule. In the meantime, Assemblyman Farrell is working to get a traffic control installed at 147th and Lenox Ave. to help with the resulting traffic concerns. UPDATE: Bridge work was completed in Summer 2007.
Pedestrian Ramp to Riverside Park at 158th St.
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Pictured here is the steel structure and newly-poured concrete of the ramp that will provide pedestrian access to Riverside Park from 158th St.
As you may have read in newsletters past, Assemblyman Farrell has been working to improve the safety and quality of access to Riverside Park from its adjoining neighborhoods. This includes improving existing sidewalks, stairs, ramps and landscaping, as well as constructing new access points. The pedestrian bridge at 151st - 153rd St., for which Assemblyman Farrell helped secure state funding, has just completed the design phase, and will shortly begin construction. As shown in the picture above, construction has already begun on the pedestrian ramp into the park from 158th St. By Spring, neighborhood families should be able to enjoy this valuable recreation resource in comfort and safety without the need to use a car.


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