YORKTOWN, N.Y. – One of Yorktown’s parks got some tender love and care last week after residents and a political hopeful rattled cages in the form of social media posts and a television news broadcast.
Touring the overgrown Blackberry Woods Park with a reporter from News 12, Republican town supervisor candidate Matt Slater criticized the current administration for allowing such conditions to exist.
A day after the report aired, the Marcy Street park had been landscaped and cleaned by the town’s Parks and Recreation Department. Earlier in the week, a Facebook post showing conditions of the park received dozens of comments from frustrated residents.
“It shouldn’t get to this point,” Slater told Yorktown News. “Obviously, there’s no plan. This should be done earlier in the season. People want to use their parks.”
Slater called the condition of town parks inexcusable. For example, he said, construction equipment and materials are being stored on unusable tennis courts at Shrub Oak Park and Downing Park.
“It starts with management. It starts with having a plan,” Slater said. “It falls squarely on the supervisor’s shoulders.”
Before looking into hiring more parks employees, Slater said, he would order a full inventory of the town’s parks to determine what work is needed and in what order. The town’s website should also have an interactive map of its parks, letting residents know what equipment a park has and where they can park their cars, he said.
The town should also be more transparent about planned improvements to its parks, Slater said. Residents should at least know the town is aware of issues and has plans to fix them, even if the repairs may take years to complete.
Slater’s criticism didn’t end with the condition of the parks. He said residents have also expressed concern to him about what the town is using to control weed growth.
“Are [kids] playing in Roundup or are they playing in something else?” Slater asked.
The Parks and Recreation Department has since clarified it does not use chemicals, but rather an “organic-based solution.”
“We apply natural citrus oil commonly found in the citrus peels of oranges, limes, lemons, and grapefruits,” the department said in a statement provided by Gilbert’s office.
“The use of citrus oil on weeds is applied in small amounts or spot applications. The product is a safe, fast acting, effective approach to controlling weeds and the department only schedules an application on a case-by-case basis.”
Still, Slater said, neighborhood residents should be notified about when the department plans to use this mixture in their parks.
“It’s an issue of transparency,” Slater said.
Read more in the Yorktown News.
YORKTOWN, N.Y. – Matt Slater, former chief of staff to state Sen. Terrence Murphy and chairman of the Yorktown GOP, is stepping out from behind the scenes to run for elective office.