By Paula Katinas
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Councilman Vincent Gentile, the longest serving member of the City Council, used his clout to secure millions of dollars from the city budget for repair projects for parks in his district, along with funding to increase sanitation collections on local streets.
Gentile (D-Bay Ridge-Dyker Heights-Bensonhurst), who was first elected to the council in 2003, has the most seniority of any council member in terms of the length of service. During budget negotiations, he worked closely with Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito to ensure that his council district would get some of the gravy.
The new city budget went into effect on July 1.
“This budget is a huge win for the hardworking people I serve in Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights, Bath Beach and Bensonhurst,” Gentile said.
The parks repair projects that will now get funding include a complete rehabilitation of the 97th Street Shore Road Park field house and comfort stations.
“This is a very exciting project as it will be the first time in decades that the field house will be renovated and useful,” Gentile said.
Another project involves renovating the basketball courts at Benson Playground, located on Bath Avenue between Bay 22nd and Bay 23rd streets. PS 200, located next door to the playground, uses the facility.
“Finally some repairs and much-needed upgrades will be coming to this park,” Gentile said.
The budget also includes money for the restoration of the tennis courts at J.J. Carty Park on Fort Hamilton Parkway in Bay Ridge.
“Many tennis players in our area have been waiting for these courts to be renovated and repaired. That process starts now,” Gentile said.
Owls Head Park in Bay Ridge will receive some minor work under the new city budget.
Citywide, the budget also includes $8.75 million that will go toward parks maintenance, including the hiring of 150 additional gardeners and parks maintenance staff, $1 million to increase the tree pruning budget and $750,000 to remove more tree stumps. Also, a new $750,000 Parks Equity Initiative will support the creation of small parks conservancies’ and support community programming in local parks throughout the city.
In an effort to keep local streets clean, Gentile brokered a deal to bring back a second litter basket pickup four days a week along busy commercials corridors in his council district
“We are lucky enough to have several thriving business corridors in our area and they all require attention. Now from Third Avenue to 18th Avenue and everything in between, these baskets will be picked up much more frequently,” Gentile said.
The following corridors will now have extra garbage pickups: Third Avenue between from 65th Street to 101st Street; Fifth Avenue from 68th Street to 86th Street; Bay Ridge Avenue between Ridge Boulevard to Fifth Avenue; 13th Avenue from 65th Street to 79th Street; and 18th Avenue from 81st Street to 86th Street.
“I want to thank Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito for her leadership along with Finance Chair Julissa Ferreras and all of my colleagues in the New York City Council for working with Mayor de Blasio to deliver a balanced and on-time budget. The entire process was not only inclusive and transparent but substantive as well,” Gentile said.