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City Fences Off Valentino Park Without Notice, Angering Residents

By Nikhita Venugopal | August 27, 2014 3:08pm | Updated on August 27, 2014 4:45pm
 Fencing was installed around some portions of the park in anticipation of a capital improvement project this fall.
Louis Valentino Jr. Park
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RED HOOK — Residents and elected officials were not happy after the city installed fencing around some parts of Louis Valentino Jr. Park earlier this week without notice.

City Councilman Carlos Menchaca said it was "deeply concerning" that his office had received no warning or notice from the Parks Department, which has a $118,000 plan in the works to renovate the park.

“This is unacceptable, and we are now working to get the details on the nature and scope of this project on Valentino Pier in order to resolve the problem this fencing has created,” Menchaca said in a statement Tuesday evening.

The Parks Department will delay the renovation until a community meeting is organized to keep "local stakeholders aware and informed" of the project's scope and timeline, Parks Borough Commissioner Kevin Jeffrey and a spokeswoman for Menchaca said Wednesday afternoon.

A date for the meeting has not yet been scheduled but will most likely take place in the next few weeks, officials said. 

The project for Valentino Park, which remains open for public use, includes providing better drainage in the park's paths, concrete work and new landscaping, park officials told DNAinfo New York earlier this month.

As of Wednesday morning, the fences did not surround the entire park and did not block its entrances. The park will remain open to the public during the project, which will be completed early 2015, according to officials.

The partial enclosure comes after Coffey Park, another public green space in Red Hook, was closed to community members for a $2.3 million renovation that will be completed next year.

Local residents started a community group demanding “transparency and better communications” from the city agency.

“We are committed to ensuring a full community process in close partnership with the Community Board on this project and the parks in our district more generally,” Menchaca said.