ASTORIA — Cracked and buckling asphalt, a retaining wall that needs repair and exposed dirt that washes down the hill each time it rains are just a few of the problems parents say desperately need fixing at the Astoria Heights Playground.
"Everything is just dated," said mom Lynn Kennedy, who started an online petition calling for improvements at the playground. "I have friends living in this neighborhood since the '70s — they say it's still the same park."
Kennedy lives just blocks from the heavily-used Astoria Heights Playground, located at 30th Road and 45th Street, but said she often takes her 2-year-old son to newer playgrounds elsewhere. She said she and other parents want a gate to keep kids from running out into the street as well as more oversight at the park, where parents have reported catching teenagers having sex in the bathrooms and found bottles and broken glass.
"We just want to see something, a little change," said Kennedy, who plans to appeal to the Parks Department, the City Council and Community Board 1 for funding and help.
Jenny Lando, who signed the petition, said she regularly takes her 8-year-old and 5-year-old children to the park, and would welcome some upgrades — including repairs to a sewer, which often gets clogged, resulting in puddles of water that flood the space after a heavy rainfall.
"It’s a really nice space that with just a little TLC and some more monitoring, [could be] great," Lando said.
A Parks Department spokesman wrote In an email that staff has unclogged the drain in the past, and will continue to check it for drainage issues until it can be permanently fixed.
A Parks Department spokesman said Astoria Heights is monitored by parks enforcement officers, who work with the NYPD to keep an eye on the space after hours.
If they can get the funding, Kennedy the group would also like to see some new play equipment.
"There's definitely a wish list for lots of items — things we've seen in other playgrounds that we want for our playground," she said.
Kennedy is also working to form a "Friends of" group for the park, and to host volunteer beautification projects there this fall, she says.