2012-03-16 / Top Stories

Liu Report Accuses Parks Of Slow Repairs


Beach 54 Street and Almeda Avenue shows worn mats in play area, a heavy amount of garbage discarded inside the playground and the garbage can was overflowing. Weeds were seen everywhere. Beach 54 Street and Almeda Avenue shows worn mats in play area, a heavy amount of garbage discarded inside the playground and the garbage can was overflowing. Weeds were seen everywhere. City Comptroller John C. Liu announced that a series of borough-specific audits found the Parks Department was slow to fix hazardous conditions in some playgrounds and may have missed others in its regular inspections.

Although Parks generally inspected playgrounds as required, in many instances the agency didn’t fix problems, including rusted and broken equipment, even after they were flagged for repair.

“Parents shouldn’t have to worry about their children playing on broken equipment or near rat holes – especially after Parks’ own inspectors have already reported the hazards,” Liu said. “In some cases, the Parks Department is inexplicably slow to give its full attention to poor playground conditions and needs to better meet its own guidelines for making badly needed repairs.”


Protruding metal at Hammel Playground. Protruding metal at Hammel Playground. The Parks Department randomly inspects 205 playgrounds every two weeks – and each site in the City is usually inspected twice a year.

Inspection reports are forwarded to Parks staff for review and correction of unacceptable conditions.

Hazardous conditions such as protruding bolts, broken or damaged equipment or benches, etc., are supposed to be repaired within two to four weeks. Parks inspectors then revisit those playgrounds to verify whether the problems have been corrected.

Auditors inspected 107 playgrounds in all five boroughs in July 2011. At many locations, they found problems were still present months after Parks’ own inspections had brought them to light.

In other cases, the auditors found hazards that had not been included on the most recent Parks inspection report.

Auditors inspected 33 playgrounds in Queens in July 2011.

Hammel Playground, Rockaway Beach Boulevard, between Beach 84 and Beach 81 Streets: 

The auditors’ inspection in July 2011 found a dangerously protruding metal bracket at the entrance that was not mentioned in the Parks in spection two months earlier.

Highland Park, Lower Highland Playground, Jamaica Avenue and Elton Street:

The Parks inspection report on March 21, 2011, reported that a section of the safety surface was missing.

When auditors visited 113 days later, the safety mats were scattered, over turned, and missing.

The audit inspected 107 playgrounds. Each inspection occurred at a specific time and, as a result, each inspection was unique to each playground and cannot be projected to others that are not part of the audit.

The audit inspected playgrounds in July 2011 and compared the findings to the most recent Parks Department reports. The scope of the audits was July 2011 to November 2011.

The latest audit reports are available at: http://comptroller.nyc.gov/aud-its.

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