|The slide has been broken for nearly two years.|
The slide is still broken and has been unusable for nearly two years, despite a statement from the Park Authority in April 2016 that it was receiving quotes for having it fixed.
|A downed tree blocks the path.|
|Boards on the path. [Binod Gupta]|
He promised to put weed removal on the work plan but noted, “This time of year we see a lot of weeds sprouting in playground mulch, and with 26 playgrounds to maintain, it sometimes takes us a while to get to all of them.” He also said crews would remove dead birds and loose boards lying on the gravel path.
Regarding the slide, Plourde said, “I do realize that it has taken a long time to replace, but please understand that with older playgrounds such as this, parts become more difficult to come by so replacement becomes a longer process. I expect that it should be installed before the end of the summer.”
Since Gutpa started complaining, he said, the Park Authority has picked up a few twigs, cut some branches, and repaired and painted a few benches. Gupta said his requests to add mulch to the playground in early 2017 were ignored.
“One thing the Park Authority is good at is responding to emails; that’s it,” Gupta said in an email to Plourde. He said he had complained numerous times, and keeps hearing excuses about budget cuts. “We pay more taxes then surrounding localities and all we get is a dilapidated playground and a so-called park with everything crumbling and weeds growing all over, dead trees, and dead birds.”
He suggested that parks in more affluent neighborhoods are better maintained, while “parks like Backlick will be deferred for an infinite period of time.”
|Plants all over the playground. [Binod Gupta]|
Gross suggested Backlick Park could benefit from the creation of an informal “friends” group that could help maintain it. In other communities, neighbors have collaborated to schedule work days to remove invasive vines, improve playgrounds, and get rid of loiterers, she noted. “Neighbors, working together with Park Authority staff, can make a difference.”
|Benches in the gazebo have been fixed.|
Gupta said Gross told him that Backlick Park was slated to be renovated with funds from the park bond passed by voters in November 2016. “Now she says even though the bond has passed, it will take many years to fix this park.”
Meanwhile, Gupta says he has stopped taking his family to Backlick Park. The last time he went there, a couple of weeks ago, he saw a homeless person living by the children’s play area. “This so-called park is like a place where it is scary to be in the evenings. It looks like a scene in a Zombie movie.”