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McCarren Park

The Daily Plant : Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Parks & Recreation Dedicates Tom Stofka Garden

photo by Daniel Avila

On May 10, Parks & Recreation Commissioner Adrian Benepe was joined by Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz, Chairman of Community Board 1 Vincent Abate, and members of Tom Stofka’s family, including his parents Stephen and Melba Stofka, and his wife Marta Hollister, to cut the ribbon on a new state-of-the art running track, synthetic turf field, and entrance garden in McCarren Park.

"Today's dedication of Tom Stofka Garden at McCarren Park is a fitting memorial to a beloved colleague," said Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe. "Tom loved his job and his warm personality was infectious to all who knew him. By dedicating a new garden and a new synthetic turf field, we are providing the community with improved spaces for recreation and passive enjoyment. Although we miss Tom, this dedication will help ensure that his lively presence is remembered."

McCarren Park is the beneficiary of several new improvements. Thanks to a generous allocation of nearly $1.8 million from Mayor Bloomberg, Borough President Markowitz, Council Member David Yassky, and a grant from ING Bank, Parks revitalized the northeastern portion of the Park for recreation and passive reflection.

This project included conversion of the dilapidated track infield with the same synthetic turf that is used in the NFL. The field was lined for adult and youth soccer and football, and a new surface was installed on the running track. The work also included reconstruction of the Driggs Avenue entrance of the Park with decorative steel entrance posts, new asphalt paths, benches and garden areas. The garden is filled with flowering azaleas, rhododendrons, skimmias, viburnums, hydrangeas, Kwanzan cherry trees, and a weeping beech tree.

Tom Stofka worked with Parks for over 25 years, serving as Director of Brooklyn Forestry. He was the guardian of the borough’s trees. On his watch, the first street tree census was completed, the backlog of dead tree removals was eliminated, modern information management systems were introduced, and the Asian Long-horned Beetle was discovered and vigorously fought. Thanks to his immense love for his job and his warm personality, Tom is remembered by all who knew him as an unparalleled professional and a wonderful human being.


"Trees are the earth’s endless effort

to speak to the listening heaven."

Rabindranath Tagor

(1861 – 1941)

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