Friends of Transmitter Park – Greenpoint’s newest green space, located at the waterfront and Greenpoint Avenue – had their official launch meeting Tuesday evening at the Red Star Bar on West and Franklin. Originally, the members had gathered to form working committees and begin to address private fundraising for the park. Instead, Chairperson Barbara Vetell led a meeting largely centered on reconciling those in favor and those against unleashed dogs being allowed to roam throughout the space.
According to Kurt Cavanaugh, Assistant Director of the Open Space Alliance (OSA), this isn’t a matter of park rules. The guidelines are clear: unleashed dogs are not allowed at Transmitter Park at any time. Signs displaying this information, however, have been stolen several times off park property or otherwise been ignored by dog-owning locals.
Resident Crista Guliani supports those regulations, saying that dog runs end up as unmanicured plots of dirt, and as a result should be put into “throw-away space, like next to a highway and not on prime real estate” like the riverside park. Lisa Roman, a Greenpoint mother with a toddler, recounted her child being assaulted by an unleashed dog as a cautionary tale. Local dog owner Danielle McGunagle countered those complaints by arguing that the park was “for the entire community,” including both kids and canines.
The conflict was a major cause of concern for Vetell, who has been involved in an effort to turn the WNYC Transmitter into green space since 1972, and is proud that – with the help of the Greenpoint Waterfront Association for Parks and Planning – the community has finally made it “[their] little jewel.”
Aside from the high drama inspired by the dog vs. child debate, a few other topics relating to the park were briefly mentioned. Jason Beury, the Park’s department gardener, mentioned a planting project to commence in late April and made a preliminary call for volunteers. The gates of the park, which remain unlocked throughout the night, also came up. “You don’t want that,” explained Eric Hall, owner of the Red Star Bar. “Suddenly homeless people are turning the park into their summer home, kids are getting high there… it’s not a good situation.” A Parks Department spokesperson informed the Gazette that the City would begin locking the park in the summer.
In addition to fundraising, in which it will be supported by the OSA, the Friends of Transmitter Park’s mission is to help coordinate volunteer efforts in the green space. Vetell has placed a call for candidates to co-chair the committee in an election that will be held in April. At that point, she hopes to step back and play a more advisory role in the park’s continued development.
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