Tuesday, July 03, 2007

June Commissioner Monthly Meeting Minutes

This report can also be downloaded in a PDF from our website at:

Minutes of Monthly Commissioner Meeting
St. Nicholas Park
June 28, 2007

Administration Building CUNY


William Castro, Manhattan Borough Commissioner of Parks
Sabina Saragoussi, Partnership for Parks
PO M. Palmer, 26th Precinct
SGT Taneese Tulloch, 26th Precinct
Robert Santos, CCNY
Martin Smith, Councilman's Robert Jackson's Office
Paul Evans, Manager of St. Nicholas Park
Barbara Allen, Assistant to William Castro
William Mullin, Friends of St. Nicholas Park
Risa Rottenberg, Friends of St. Nicholas Park
Yuien Chin, Hamilton Heights-West Harlem Coalition

Police Report: Sergeant Tulloch, NYPD

In 28 day period there has been 1 incident involving a robbery with a fake firearm. 2 arrests have been made associated to this incident at St. Nicholas Avenue and 135th Street.

Since the start of the year a total of 6 incidents have been reported in the park.

Update on the robbery pattern around St. Nicholas Park a few months ago - 2 arrests have been made.

Police would like to know if there are areas in the park that park users have seen kids or others lurking and ready to mug or rob. The group listed a few places and police took note.

CCNY Report - Robert Santos

A plan to provide closed-circuit TV cameras along St. Nicholas Terrace. There would be a total of 12 cameras along the Terrace which would be web-based for viewing for CCNY students, staff and security.

The Towers dormitory feels isolated from the rest of the campus; the campus will be putting up CCNY banners along their side of St. Nicholas Terrace in order to show people that College continues all the way down to the Towers dorm.

Lighting has been installed in the past few months along the terrace from 135th to 133rd street at the Towers. They have improved visibility at night as well as believed to have deterred crime.

Manager's Program - Paul Evans

Night Manager Rotation program: Managers are participating in night rounds. Rotating to check in on parks during the night.

Meeting was held for Parks and National Park Service about security at the Grange once it was moved as well as parking proposal in the plan.

There is a new Bulletin Board at 133rd and 140th street storage houses. Paul encourages the Friends group to post their events at the boards. Paul will get the keys to the group soon.

Paul mentioned a group interested in becoming more involved in St. Nicholas Park. They also want to be involved in helping o financially support Friends group. Paul will email the Friends the contact info.

A hard copy of the tree study was handed out among meeting attendees. The report is the result of a tree survey performed a few years ago in the park. A PDF of the study has been requested from Friends in order to provide electronic copies to their members.

An increase of homeless individuals in the park during the summer months is a normal occurrence. Usually homeless individuals come out from Subways which become too hot in summer. This year is no exception with a drastic increase of homeless individuals sleeping on the lawn of in wooded areas.

Park Manager Paul Evans has contacted the Bowery Residence Committee, which is an organization which runs shelters throughout the city. Paul will give us an update on their effort to curb the problem next meeting.

4 Projects anticipated beginning between now and ending of the year.

Upper Path Reconstruction from 132nd to 135th
Cost: 1.2 Million

This project is delayed because it had to be re-bid since the company who was granted the job had a history of discrimination toward women and minorities.

Parks is expecting a July re-bid contact and construction to commence in the Fall.

Friends asked if proper drainage would be addressed during the capital project and Park confirm it would be.

Friends also requested that a water line be considered for the dog run during Upper Path construction. Commissioner Castro confirmed that Parks will provide a change order to this scope of work (since it has not been finalized yet) to include a water line, spigot to the dog run for water to be accessible during spring/summer months.

Upper Path Reconstruction from 135th to 138th street
Cost: $750,000

Bid has been finalized for this capital project which involves renovation of the upper path as well as paving the wood chipped road that police and utility vehicles use to gain access to the northern park of the park. Drainage is a problem in this area and Friends asked if this would be addressed and Parks confirmed that drainage issues would be addressed for this capital project.

Construction is expected to begin by end of Summer.

Basketball Court Resurfacing

The basketball courts from 140th to 139th streets in the Ollie Edinboro Playground will be resurfaced during the fall months. Currently there is a requirements contract out for bids. Parks will update us on exact dates once a contractor has been chosen.

Sidewalk Repair 135th street to 139th street

The DOT is expected to start repair of the sidewalks from 135th street to 139th street soon. Parks did not have an official date of when they would start but said they could get once for us. This capital project is managed through the DOT and not Parks.
The Friends expressed concern over the danger of the sidewalks and the urgency to get this project completed.

For all capital project scope Steve Simon will be sending Friends (c/o William Mullin) all scopes.

Friends Report: William Mullin, Friends of St. Nicholas Park

Friends expressed concern over Garbage situation in the park on Memorial Day weekend.

Some other suggestions included:

-More Garbage Can
-Staff giving out trash bags during holiday
-Schedule for packer drivers
-Bring staff in early on July 5th to begin clean-up.
-Have staff come in evening of July 4th to be ready to pick up after picnics, etc. (more expensive alternative)

Friends would like a ribbon-cutting for the dog run. Commissioner Castro confirmed that all press releases go through Park Department. Friends to send talking points to Steve Simon for inclusion of Press Release.

Date for Ribbon Cutting to be determined but can happen August since it may be more opportunity for press to pick up story.

Friends presented print outs of areas around the park that needed attention. These included:

• Railing on 140th street staircase
• Iron Fence on 141st street
• Temporary Fencing in middle of path between 139th and 138th street
• Toppled tree on 137th street
• Concrete debris on 139th street

EVENTS UPDATE (with Risa Rottenberg)
Friends reviewed events for summer which includes a couple of film festivals. Risa Rottenberg of Friends confirmed the 2 films being shown in the Historic Harlem Parks Film Festival. 1 will be documentary on Dafur and the second night will feature a film about the film business in Nigeria.

An issue that Friends and the film committee were having is with a rain facility for the films. In the past that has been Jackie Robinson Recreation Center - but this is not ideal since it is too far from the original location. Robert Santos and Yuien Chen proposed reaching out to Aaron Davis Hall and the Harlem Stage at Gatehouse for possible venues. Aaron Davis Hall was probably a better bet since CCNY is not in session. Steve Simon and Robert Santos to follow-up on possibility of using this facility.

Commissioner Castro wanted to confirm a date for an event involving the Jazz Museum of Harlem's 16 piece swing band. An August date was discussed - possible Thursday, August 9th. Commissioner and Sabina from Partnership for Parks to let us know availability of the band during that time and if it conflicts with any other events.

Partnership for Parks Update, Sabina Saragoussi
New Historic Harlem Parks Calendar of Events were published and distributed among Parks groups.

Next Meeting
Discussion was interrupted because of a fire alarm in the building. Friends have asked Barbara Allen a request to move the meetings up to 9am so as to take up less of the workday.


Anonymous said...

photos inside the ccny dorm

as for crime, i went to city college, and here's what I saw back in the 90s. one time i saw a 14yr old kid walking up convent ave. he had a younger kid in a headlock and he was cocking an unloaded automatic. another time, I was jumped by a group of armed black kids that go to that ghetto high school located on the corner of the ccny campus (automatic security problem there). they were hiding on st. nicholas terrace behind some dumpsters at the ccny the science building and one of them pointed a gun at me.

Anonymous said...

Wow. Things have changed. I read these reports from the Friends group and violent crime like that has fallen to almost nil. Although you still need to be smart - anywhere in the city - not just Harlem.

Anonymous said...

We just moved back to NYC (used to live at 125 and Bway), and now live on the corner of 130 and St. Nich Terr. Our roommate here was mugged in our lobby at knifepoint a a year or so ago, but otherwise has had no problems for nearly 3 years.

I would be interested in any other reports of similar incidents, or of breakins--or in general, things (or particular locations) to be on the lookout for. For example, how is the block on 130 btw Convent and Amsterdam?