It’s taken 15-years, but it finally looks like long-awaited repairs to the sidewalks along the Cooper Park Houses in East Williamsburg can begin, owing to the efforts of Councilman Antonio Reynoso.
For a decade and a half, residents of the public housing development have suffered with cracks in the sidewalk, apartments that need maintenance, and concerns of mold.
For now, at least the sidewalk repair concerns look like they’ll be taken care of. Despite long-term efforts from residents, there was a continuous passing of the buck from one agency to the next. According to residents and the Councilmember, NYCHA would lay the responsibility at the feet of the Department of Buildings which in turn claimed it was another agency’s responsibility and so on and so forth.
Until Reynoso stepped in last week and demanded that civic agencies take action or he would get members of his own office to cement the pavement and make the fixes themselves.
That finally got the ball rolling with repairs scheduled to take place Friday last week.
“We’ve failed the people of Cooper Park if they have to wait 15 years for repairs like this,” said Reynoso at a press conference held at the Cooper Park Senior Center Wednesday morning. “It shouldn’t take a threat to get results and the residents deserve better than this.”
The stepped up efforts followed an announcement by the city’s mayor, Bill de Blasio that the 2016 Budget would include $3 million for NYCHA sidewalk repairs. However Cooper Park did not make the cut as a priority in that budget.
And for the resident association at Cooper Park, the complaints had been piling up. According to its president, the group had received over a 100 complaints citing injuries from tripping or falling over the cracks.
One such victim was Georgina Correa, who fell over the cracks two years ago, and has been practically immobile since.
“It was terrible, and I’m still experiencing pain leg pain,” she said. “I just want to make sure this is fixed and accidents like this don’t happen in the future.”