Letters to the Editor, June 26

Union Square playground isn’t for everyone

Re: Former Council Member Carol Greitzer’s letter, “No place to play for the disabled,” T&V, June 19

Ms. Greitzer is on to something about the lack of facilities in Union Square Park’s playground of children with disabilities. In fact, there are no facilities or space in the park for people with disabilities, seniors or teenagers. Nor is there appropriate play equipment for every child in the playground.

Since 2004, all planning for the playground and pavilion (at final cost of $20M dollars) merely privileged arrangements for a commercial restaurant in the pavilion disregarding needs of residents, young and old. Yet, Union Square Community Coalition’s (USCC) ten-year campaign and litigations helped to achieve a maximum-size playground (15,000 square feet — double the original plan of only 8,000 square feet). But our hard-fought efforts to reclaim the pavilion for its traditional use by the community were ignored in favor of a seasonal restaurant.

USCC recognizes the unequal access to park facilities suffered by certain residents. Now it’s time for the mayor to justify the taxpayers’ enormous investment in our pavilion as a public good. He has the power to act to ensure free access to and use of the pavilion as a year-round community center with programs and activities for our under-served teenagers, seniors and people with disabilities. Attention must be paid to their needs. They cannot continue to be deprived of public space in their park.

Eadie Shanker,
Union Square Community Coalition member

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