City to give Mellett Playground a much-needed makeover

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All dried up: These guys want to see the spray showers usable again, especially during the hot summer months.
Don’t trip!: Mellett Playground’s uneven flooring is unsafe, say locals.
Make shift: These kids had to fill up their water guns and balloons with water from the drinking fountain since the spray showers were shut off.

Mellett’s getting a makeover!

The city plans to revamp the neglected and rundown Mellett Playground, where kids are forced to play in dirty, standing water, and on slides that likely haven’t been upgraded since the turn of the century, said the local pol.

“I don’t think it was updated since the last time in 1995,” said Councilman Chaim Deutsch (D–Sheepshead Bay), who together with Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito (D–Manhattan), allocated $2 million for the playground’s makeover.

Nearby residents have complained for months about the Avenue V park’s shoddy play equipment, faulty spray showers, and a water fountain that don’t properly drain. Little kids who don’t know any better splash and play in the wet stuff that’s a breeding ground for disease-infected bugs, said Zach Challenger.

“It’s a health problem, the children are playing in water that does not drain away, it stands,” he said. “It’s not good, it’s dirty water.”

Yet, on one of the hottest days of the summer, July 13, the spray showers weren’t even turned on — because of an underground sewage block, said Parks Department spokeswoman Maeri Ferguson — forcing youngsters who were just looking for a fun way to cool off, to fill up their balloons and water guns with the faint stream from the drinking fountain, according to photographer Georgine Benvenuto.

And the park — between E. 13th and E. 14th streets — also has uneven, trip-prone flooring that could be dangerous for little kids running around. It’s about time the neighborhood park gets much-needed repairs, said Peter Forte, who lives just a few blocks away.

“We need new sprinklers, we need new everything, the whole park needs a new renovation,” he said.

The Parks Department will invite the community for a scoping meeting to get suggestions and feedback on what they would like to see in the park as part of its capital-project process, though no date has been set, said a spokeswoman for the agency. But since it will be a few years before workers break ground, the Parks Department is working quickly to fix the clogged drain, and in the meantime, suggests overheated locals to enjoy the working spray showers at the nearby Kelly Park and Galapo Playground, both less than a 15 minutes walk away from Mellett, the spokeswoman said.

And Mellet Playground’s water fountain is not affected by the sewage block because it runs on a different line and is safe to drink, she said.

Reach reporter Julianne Cuba at (718) 260–4577 or by e-mail at Follow her on Twitter @julcuba.
Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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