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The Daily Plant : Wednesday, October 8, 2003

BEST OF PARKS: PART V

District operations are the bedrock of Parks & Recreation’s service to the public. At this year’s Best of Parks awards, four districts were recognized for their outstanding performance through Parks & Recreation’s inspection program.

Cleanest District: District 1, Staten Island

With an overall cleanliness rating of 99.4%, Staten Island’s District 1 achieved the highest cleanliness rating for any district citywide. This was also an improvement over already high cleanliness ratings of 97.4% in 2002 and 94.5% in 2001. District 1 is not easy to maintain: it has the oldest facilities in the borough and includes popular parks such as Cloves Lakes and Silver Lake. Additionally, without fixed-post staff, District 1 depends entirely on mobile crews.

Gary Zerilli, District 1’s manager, gives all the credit to his staff. "A manager is only as good as his team. They know what to do every day and they take care of business." District 1’s stellar staff includes: Michael Schmiedel, Supervisor of Parks Maintenance and Operations; Mark Schulz, Supervisor of Parks Maintenance and Operations; Maryellen Burtner, Supervisor of Parks Maintenance and Operations; Benard Chan, Supervisor of Parks Maintenance and Operations; Michael Langworthy, City Park Worker; Arthur Caprario, Sr., City Park Worker; Dominick Trimarco, Maintenance Worker; Floyd Douglas, Associate Park Service Worker; George Balletto, Associate Park Service Worker; Lorraine Herbst, City Park Worker; Myrna Ramirez, Supervisor of Parks Maintenance and Operations; Brenda Boone, City Park Worker; Jennie Boone-Douglas, City Park Worker; Douglas Brown, City Park Worker; Patricia Magnani, City Park Worker; Antoinette Monte, City Park Worker; Mary Ann Morton, City Park Worker; Joseph Ficarra, City Park Worker; Joe DiOrio, City Park Worker; and Kaye Garrett, City Park Worker.

Greenest District: District 9, Manhattan

In fiscal year 2003, Manhattan’s District 9 achieved 99% acceptable ratings for all landscape related features. It was one of the best scores citywide and, coupled with Manhattan’s recent horticulture initiatives, District 9 was a shoo-in for "greenest district." The addition of two dedicated zone gardeners has resulted in new flowerbeds, sight lines and plantings. Rejuvenated areas include the hillside terrace at St. Nicholas Park, and the hillsides, walking paths, and pond at Morningside Park. The staff is also introducing new plant species to the district. District 9 has led the way in making parks not only clean, but beautiful.

Tricia Daniel, District 9’s manager, complimented her staff’s perseverance. "Our horticulture staff has faced such obstacles as theft and vandalism—they’re dealing with people trampling their stuff and stealing plants. But they just keep working away, every day, keeping the park looking great. I’m glad their hard work has been recognized." District 9’s hard-working staff includes: Tricia Daniel, Supervisor; Scott Farrington, Gardener; Marechal Brown, Gardener; Maddan Sahairam, SPMO; Paul Reilly, SPMO; William R. Carswell, City Park Worker and Juan D. Florian, City Park Worker.

Most Improved District for Cleanliness: District 2, Brooklyn

In Brooklyn’s District 2, the cleanliness rating has improved steadily and dramatically over the past three years: going from 87.9% in 2001 to 90.1% in 2002, and now 95.7% in 2003. District 9 includes some of the borough’s most high profile and busy parks including Borough Hall, Cadman Plaza, Brooklyn Heights Promenade, Fort Greene, and Commodore Barry Park.

Lena Neglia, District 2’s Manager said she was very proud of the staff’s hard work. "We were all very proud. It was nice to see our work recognized by the entire agency. It also gives us an incentive to keep doing a good job." District 2’s staff includes: Frank Legari, Supervisor of Parks Maintenance and Operations; Natalie Sewell, Supervisor of Parks Maintenance and Operations; John Carbonaro, Supervisor of Parks Maintenance and Operations; Walter Billings, Maintenance Worker; Fred Arroyo, WEP Crew Chief; James Mack, Associate Park Service Worker; Andrea Lyons, Associate Park Service Worker; Walter Hernandez, Associate Park Service Worker; Philbert Parson, City Park Worker; Samuel Poe, City Park Worker; John Esposito, City Park Worker and William Green, City Park Worker.

Most Improved District Overall: District 4, Queens

The district that improved the most last year was Queens’ District 4. Their ratings increased impressively, going from 77.4% in FY02 to 89.3% in FY03. This was the largest one year improvement of all districts at Parks & Recreation. The district also reached 89.3% for cleanliness in FY03, which was up 10.1% from FY02. District 9 includes Linden Park, Hoffman Park, Walter Crowley Playground, and American Triangle.

David Dentham, District 4’s Manager, credits the improvement to the staff’s resourcefulness: "Because we had a decrease in staff, we had to find new ways to keep the district going. We worked with the Department of Probation and the community to keep the parks clean. My supervisors were especially diligent and attentive to the overall operations of the district." District 4’s staff includes: Robert Devlin, Supervisor of Parks Maintenance and Operations; John Locascio, Supervisor of Parks Maintenance and Operations; Harry Avenia, City Park Worker; Frank Antalek, Crew Chief; Winston Hernandez, City Park Worker and Jeffrey Blount, City Park Worker.

QUOTATION FOR THE DAY

"To have great poets, there must be great audiences, too."

Walt Whitman

(1819-1892)

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