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Rufus King Park

The Daily Plant : Tuesday, December 17, 2002

GETTING TO KNOW YOU, GETTING TO KNOW ALL ABOUT YOU


This fall, Parks piloted two initiatives aimed at improving customer service and public feedback. On September 28 and October 5, Parks held the first citywide "Meet the Manager" day. About 45 park managers, along with staff members, devoted their Saturdays to meet with park users at 138 park sites throughout the five boroughs, including parks, playgrounds, beaches and recreation centers. Joined by a number of community representatives, they talked shop with hundreds of New Yorkers, and over 650 patrons also took the time to fill out a quick questionnaire about their programming and park priorities. Along with learning more about Parks, participants got key chains and kids were treated to red bouncy balls.

Later in the fall, a more formal program of user surveys was conducted on October 19 and 27 and November 2 at St. James Park in the Bronx, Owl’s Head Park in Brooklyn, Fort Tryon Park in Manhattan, Rufus King Park in Queens, and Wolfe’s Lake Park in Staten Island. Survey captains from Operations teamed with local volunteer groups organized by Partnerships for Parks to ask patrons for their comments and ideas about parks. Partnerships Outreach Coordinators helped get the word out to the public by sending out mailings and emails to community residents and encouraging parks groups to get the word out as well. In addition, many of the OCs rode along with the Managers and were available to give additional support in dealing with specific issues that arose. A total of 375 people completed extensive survey forms about park cleanliness, amenities, special events and programs.

In general, positive feedback about employees and the cleanliness of park facilities was received. Security, lighting and bathrooms were high priorities for the patrons surveyed. Parks is looking to expand the "Meet the Manager" and survey initiatives next year at recreation centers, during "It’s My Park" days, and in every park district.

Thank you to all the managers and staff citywide who participated in "Meet the Manager" days. Thank you to the survey captains: Anatoly Zaydenshteyn, Sherry Lee, Keisha Simmons, Muhammad Nadeem and Susan Friedman. Our local partners were Friends of Fort Tryon, Tottenville High School Key Club, New York Public Interest Research Group (NYPIRG), Fleet Bank volunteers, American Red Cross volunteers, and St. James Recreation Center volunteers.

Written by Keith Kerman and Sherry Lee

PEOPLE’S PARK PLAYGROUND WINS BEST OF PARKS AWARD

Timing is everything—in love, in life, and in capital projects. When a capital project is completed on time, it impresses both the community and the elected official who funded the project. Brooklyn’s People’s Park Playground is an example of a capital project that was completed in a timely and efficient manner. Although many capital projects are completed on time, People’s Park was nominated as the best capital project because the people that created it worked together in a way that exemplifies Capital’s new team approach.

People’s Park Playground became an official project on July 1, 2000, when Council Member Phil Reed officially allocated funding for its design and construction. On September 21, 2000, the project went into design and was completed on March 23, 2001 by Randee C. Stewart, a week before its due date. The project then moved into its bid cycle and, under the supervision of Steven Joseph, a registered contract was produced in three and a half months. Construction began on August 20, 2001 and was finished on February 13, 2002. Thanks to Resident Engineer Joe Burke’s direction, the construction was completed two days early.

The playground is a real beauty, with a whimsical insect and daisy and motif throughout. Its most striking feature is a large, daisy-shaped spray shower. New benches, playground equipment, safety surfacing and landscape features rounded out the design. The entire project cost $985,000 and has proved to be a welcome addition to the neighborhood.

Playground construction is the bread and butter of Parks’ Capital division. In the past decade, Parks Capital has rebuilt, renovated, or repaired every playground in the city. By working together in small teams, Capital has reduced the time from funding to finish. Their quick turnover makes funding parks attractive elected officials, who can often see the fruits of their funding within their two-year term.

Written by Hannah Gersen

QUOTATION FOR THE DAY

"An expert is one who knows more and more about less and less."


Nicholas Murray Butler

(1862-1947)

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