March 20 marked both the first day of spring and the monthly meeting of Community Board 12.
And bringing the two together was a discussion of improvements that the board is anticipating for local parks.
Board Member Greg Mays of the board’s Parks Committee said the city is on the same page with proposed upgrades to Rufus King Park, which sits on Jamaica Avenue between 150th and 153rd streets.
He said aside from the normal sprucing up, the Parks Department is willing to acknowledge that park users vote with their feet on where walking paths belong.
“They have expressed a desire to pave the paths where the people have worn a path in the grass,” he said.
The park is the site of the former home of Rufus King, who served in the Revolutionary War and signed the Constitution.
Mays also said Parks and the Long Island Rail Road appear to be closer to sitting down to discuss the acquisition of LIRR property near the existing Railroad Park, which is located on 129th Ave. between 172nd and 176th streets.
“It would help make it the park we would like it to be,” he said.
Mays said the parcel in question is located to the north of the LIRR’s Locust Manor station.
Also on the subject of recreation, the board heard a presentation from Cynthee Cortes of Make the Road New York on the subject of play streets.
Play Streets, an initiative they are working on with partners such as Transportation Alternatives, organizes the scheduled closure of single blocks of streets for hours at a time when children are encouraged to get outside, run around and play.
Cortes said Transportation Alternatives — an organization that promotes mass transit, bicycling and other means of non-automobile travel — will assist any neighborhood group wanting a regularly scheduled play street, as will the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.
Each application also must be approved by the neighborhood’s community board, and also requires the approval of and coordination with the proper NYPD precinct.
Each application then goes to both DOH and the city’s Department of Transportation for final approval.
Information provided by Make the Road New York said the application process can be a lengthy one, and that it generally begins in March.