Ward 6’s Neider Park recently underwent extensive and long-overdue renovations. Drainage problems, a crumbling and antiquated basketball court, a swampy and unused baseball field, and general disrepair made Neider Park one of the more underutilized public spaces in the city. Located in a ward where people of color represent around half of the population and the average annual income is about $29,000, Neider Park is finally moving toward becoming a valued community asset.
- The old basketball court was demolished, and a brand new court placed at the eastern end of the park near the railroad tracks where the baseball field used to be, not far from the parking lot. The court was likely moved so that it would be further away from the residents’ homes that surround the park, reducing noise complaints.
- A pavilion was also built near the court, providing a shaded space for larger gatherings and community events.
- The playground was cleaned up, old fencing was removed from the borders of the park, a better drainage system was installed, and landscapers removed a significant amount of overgrowth.
There is still work to be done (including continued drainage issues), but what was once an embarassment to the city is now on its way back to being a respectable public green space.
However, one Geneva resident doesn’t like the increase in vehicle traffic around the new Neider Park, and he shared his complaints at the August 2 2017 City Council meeting.
Ward 6 City Councilor John Greco spent a few minutes outlining his objections to changes at the park during an agenda item (under “New Business”) called “Discussion Regarding Speed Limits on Dead-End Streets.”
City Manager Matt Horn opened “Discussion Regarding Speed Limits on Dead-End Streets” by noting that the city received a petition from dead-end street residents asking for lowered speed limits, and that New York State Department of Transportation rules prevented lowered speed limits on those specific streets.
Councilor Greco, a resident of Avenue B which runs along the north side of Neider Park, joined the conversation about by talking almost exclusively about the park’s design and parking situation, while barely referencing the issue of speeding.
Watch the highlights here:
CLIP NUMBER ONE
“The reason we brought this up and they had a petition was I live on Avenue B, and at the end of Avenue B we have a parking lot. And it seems to be, really, a lot of traffic. One night I sat on my porch and forty cars went by in an hour. On Avenue B, dead end street, forty cars.”
Greco immediately states that his “reason” for engaging in the discussion was to complain about something other than speeding. The fact that the park has become a popular spot for Geneva residents should be great news to the Councilor.
Greco never mentioned if any of the forty cars in that hour were speeding.
“Now, we put a lot of money in Neider’s playground. So, all of a sudden, now they put a brand new basketball court, which is fine, and a pavilion on the furthest corner of Neider playground down near the railroad tracks. They put the basketball court down near the railroad tracks. 200 yards from the playground.”
The court was moved away from all the houses so neighbors wouldn’t have noise complaints. The addition of the pavilion provides potential for larger gatherings and events, which is more good news for Ward 6.
The Councilor still hadn’t addressed the issue of speeders on Avenue B.
“To me, whoever designed that, I’m sorry, they didn’t look at that playground very well. I always thought a pavilion was for the playground where people could bring their children, and watch them and sit under the pavilion. If they did that, they’d have to have glasses because it’s 200 yards from all the playground equipment.”
Neider Park was redesigned by people who are paid a lot of money to figure out, with input from the park community, the best place to build a pavilion.
And public parks don’t always install pavilions right next to playgrounds. There are two benches next to the Neider Park playground for parents to use if they wish.
“But the issue is the speed on Avenue B is terrible. They say that the state says we cannot lower the speed limit, I don’t know what else to do.”
Greco waits until the final ten seconds of his one minute, twenty six second-long opening statement on Neider Park to mention speeders.
Is Greco using his seat on City Council to derail a discussion of speed limits so he can complain about increased traffic on his street due to the revitalization of a public park?
CLIP NUMBER TWO
“You know, the biggest concern is that part of the playground, and the parking lot.”
Greco again opens his statement by asserting that he’s not speaking up about speeding on his street, he’s speaking up about the basketball court, pavilion and parking lot.
“I mean the city don’t even maintain that parking lot. It’s a mess, it’s a wreck.”
The Neider Park lot appears to be neither a “mess” nor a “wreck.” It’s a perfectly average public lot in a residential neighborhood, and provides around twenty to thirty parking spaces for Neider Park visitors.
Here’s a photo of the parking lot in 2015. As a resident of Ward 6 and a patron of Neider Park, I can assure you that the condition of the lot has changed little in the past two years.
“But yet they put hundreds of thousands of dollars in that playground because we had a water problem, which we still have, the water still sits on the basketball court when it rains, and I just don’t know where it came from and all that.”
If the city spent thousands of dollars to fix the drainage problem and the issues are still there, they must be addressed promptly, so all the residents of Ward 6 can enjoy their updated park to the fullest.
Greco did not ask Council to help push for a solution to the basketball court’s drainage problem, and he made no further comments about the drainage problems at Neider Park.
“So, I mean, I know the pavilion is already in and everything else, but if they had to do another one someplace, please, before they do it, look into where you’re putting the pavilion and the basketball court. Right down near the railroad tracks is not a very good place for it.”
Again, when the city puts together a plan to revamp an existing park, we can all rest assured that the professional planners will be required to “look into” exactly where they plan to build the park’s new amenities.
Why Complain Now?
Greco offered additional comments during the discussion, suggesting removable speedbumps for Avenue B, and also suggesting-but-not-suggesting that a police car be parked on Avenue B to deter speeders, both of which would cost taxpayer dollars to fix an alleged problem that impacts only the street where the Councilor lives.
As a longtime resident of Avenue B, Greco should remember that for decades, Neider Park’s baseball field was heavily used by the Geneva Little League, softball leagues, and others. Avenue B had significantly more traffic in those days, and it’s only been in more recent years that Neider’s field has fallen into a state of neglect and and nonuse, resulting in less street traffic.
Residents are left to wonder if the Councilor had the same complaints in decades past.
What is the difference between carloads of softball players coming to the park in the 80s and carloads of basketball players coming to the park in 2017?
Let’s All Go To Neider Park!
If you’re planning a large gathering and need a pavilion, why not use Neider Park? There’s plenty of parking at the end of Avenue B.
If you’re in the mood to bring the kids to a local playground, why not go to Neider? There are benches for parents who want to stay close to the kids, or if you want to give the youngsters a little more space, you can sit in the comfortable pavilion, or just enjoy walking the grounds. Spacious, welcoming and plenty of parking!
How about a basketball tournament? Plan it for Neider Park! Again, plenty of parking in the lot, a brand new basketball court for all the hoops action, and a nearby pavilion for players and attendees.
And when you go, please don’t speed on Avenue B!
Enter your address below for directions to the Avenue B parking lot at Neider Park:
How To Curb Alleged Speeding on Avenue B
Finally, it looks like lowering the speed limit is not a viable option, so the potential solutions to the alleged speeding problem on Avenue B must be legal and community-based.
- Yard signs can deter speeding.
- Neighborhood Watch groups can deter speeding.
- Walking outside and getting to know the new parkgoers can deter speeding.