The city Parks Department says vandalism will not prevent it from opening a Far Rockaway playground this summer, and local residents are relieved. Queens borough reporter Ruschell Boone filed the following report.
With the damages totalling more than $100,000, many Far Rockaway residents feared the city would halt construction on the Beach 29th playground, but the Parks Department says it will soon be back on schedule.
"The contractor has been there a few times the manufacturer, we located the parts that we need, they're now on order," said Queens Park Commissioner Dorothy Lewandowski. "We hope to be back in line and open the playground sometime during the summer."
Prosecutors say a teen broke into the site last month and used an excavator to destroy everything in its path.
The city started construction on the park in 2010 as part of a $30 million playground project to restore the playgrounds from Beach 9th Street to Beach 30th Street.
Allan Swafford, 17, was arrested last Thursday and the local councilman said someone tipped off the authorities after watching the story on NY1.
"I think the young man should be punished, I think he should be made to pay or do community work. Maybe he can fix it up himself," said one local/
The Parks Department says after NY1's story aired, New Yorkers also started donating money to help fix the park.
"I think it's wonderful, I think it's a beautiful thing. Everybody pooled together and fix it up," said a neighbor.
Offers to help are still coming in.
"We also have someone who is interested in putting a fundraising effort together for us," said Lewandowski.
Parks Department officials say people who would like to contribute can do so though their Adopt-a-Park program. Details can be found at nyc.gov/parks.