The group gave a presentation at last week's Community Board 1 meeting highlighting their concern for more funding in the capital budget to address the current lack of maintenance for McGolrick Park and the surrounding areas.
“The eastern end going towards Queens has always been in our minds the forgotten end, but we’ve always had a jewel there and that’s McGolrick Park,” said Mary Boil, a lifelong resident of Brooklyn and member of MPNA.
Currently, the alliance is focusing on million of dollars in funding that has been made available for community projects through a settlement with ExxonMobil over the tens of millions of gallons of oil that seeped into the ground under Greenpoint over decades of oil refining on Newtown Creek.
The location of the park is directly above the plume of the spill. MPNA is concerned that not enough money is going toward where the actual damage was done, but instead to fund waterfront development or projects not affected by the oil spill.
“We need to focus on serving the needs of the people directly affected,” said founding member Daniel Latorre.
Recent vandalism, arson and physical assaults that took place in McGlorick Park prompted the formation of the group.
“It is very hard as an individual to get attention, this is why the alliance has been put together,” Latorre said. “Safety is one thing, but the park itself is another.”
The alliance has been meeting with local officials, including Councilman Stephen Levin, Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams and the Open Space Alliance (OSA) for North Brooklyn.
“Basically in the two months we’ve been together, we’ve already made some really good accomplishments,” he added.
The alliance estimates that $5 million is needed to repair the park. Some goals include a complete renovation of the playground, reconstruction of pathways, improved seating areas and the restoration of the historic Shelter Pavilion, which is a New York City Landmark.
“Our children are playing in a neglected space surrounded by new, clean, state-of-the-art playgrounds,” said local mother Maria Fitzpatrick.
In the coming months, the alliance will be going to public events, fundraising and organizing.
“We have been more focused on action versus communication, but we are now catching up on that aspect,” Latorre said.