The Lt. Federico Narvaez Tot Lot, a neighborhood playground on Cortelyou Road at Argyle Road, is a small but vital corner park named for a local fallen police officer. It’s also been the cause of angst for local parents over the past few years, with issues ranging from unsupervised gates to chronic disrepair.
This year, Council member Mathieu Eugene announced a $500,000 budget for renovations to the Tot Lot, in the City Council capital budget beginning July 2016, according to the council member’s office.
“The Tot Lot has been on my list of priorities,” said Council Member Mathieu Eugene. “I even brought the Comissioner of the Parks Department and other community leaders to evaluate the needs of the Tot Lot in order to secure the necessary funding… I’m confident this funding will ensure that the playground will be transformed into a fun–and more functional–space for our children.”
The funding, and arrangement for the most current on-site scope meeting, is still in process at the Parks Department, with more information to follow throughout the summer. We will report on the timeline and improvement plans as more details are released.
This isn’t the first time we’ve reported issues at the Tot Lot. In 2012, the parks volunteer responsible for opening and closing the gates was dismissed for surly behavior, and subsequenty, people were found loitering after hours inside the open gates.
Neighbors clearly care deeply about the Tot Lot, as evidenced by the community volunteers that stepped up to supervise the gates after the parks department closures in August 2012.
[Update on July 6] This isn’t the first time a renovation budget was announced for the Tot Lot. In 2014, we reported that a budget of $1.5 million was discussed at a Community Board 14 meeting, for drainage system repairs.
Donald Loggins, head of the board’s environmental committee, reported that the Cortelyou Tot Lot (Argyle Road and Cortelyou Road) will be undergoing major repairs to address drainage issues. “It tends to flood when it rains and snows, and now the worker sweeps water into the street, but their goal is to repair it,” Loggins said. The $1.5 million repairs from the city will include installing new piping and drainage.
Sources from the Parks Department have confirmed that the budget for this project did not pass.
What’s going on at the Tot Lot today?
More recently, the lot was inspected by the Parks Department on January 12, 2016 and received a stamp of approval for cleanliness and structural integrity. But one frustrated neighbor wrote to us and said, “the Lot full of stagnant water, broken equipment, and piles of dirt.”
We’d like to open this issue up to our readers: Do you think the Tot Lot is in dire need is repair? And if so, what improvements would you like to see with the budget money? Take the quick poll, and leave comments below.
Correction: An earlier headline mistakenly stated that $50,000 was designated for Tot Lot repairs.