Monday, August 21, 2006
For a change, this posting is not about unleashed dogs in city parks but is no less important.
Dreier-Offerman Park, in Brooklyn, is just another ignored and abused city park. An aquaintance, who prefers to remain anonymous on this site, submitted the following letter to the Department of Parks and Recreation. Residents of Gravesend should consider sending in their own letters.
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August 17th, 2006
Commissioner Adrian Benepe
The Arsenal, Central Park
830 5th Avenue
New York, NY 10021
Subject: Dreier-Offerman Park, Gravesend, Brooklyn
Dear Commissioner Benepe:
I recently read a July 25th, 2006 New York Daily news article about an illicit attempt by a private soccer league to install an upgraded sprinkler system by digging trenches for irrigation pipes in Dreier-Offerman Park. This inappropriate behavior by the local soccer league follows other unauthorized behavior, such as the installation of light towers. Usurpation by a single-minded special interest group is troublesome and illegal for a publicly financed city park.
My purpose in contacting you is to urge you to put forth a long overdue master plan and improvement implementations that will create undisputed park identity. It should include restoring natural elements and comprehensive amenities to an undeveloped park mostly forgotten and long neglected. I recalled not long ago that the Parks Natural Resources Group did devise or attempt a partial master plan focused on restoring or mitigating the natural shoreline. This project was never consummated, leaving Dreier-Offerman Park at the mercy of unauthorized park users intent on creating their own agendas. A master plan that emphasizes nature-oriented habitats, along with aesthetically enriching environments and walkways will create a park welcomed by many different park visitors. As it stands now, Dreier-Offerman Park is dominated by athletic fields and open spaces, with little to no amenities for any park patron desiring non-athletic activities, i.e., simple strolls in the woods, picnicking, birdwatching, nature activities, children facilities, etc.
Sadly, Dreier Offerman has received little attention from the parks department ever since its creation in 1962. More evidence for her obscurity and lack of respect, was a proposal for a private golf course! Furthermore, many asphalt driveways and roads now ruin most of the Dreier -Offerman parkland. Dreier -Offerman is simply abused by numerous indifferent and uncaring sources.
Because of its proximity to the waterfront and its superb location as a rich bird migration and winter coastal region within the Atlantic Flyway, Dreier-Offerman Park is highly productive for bird life. Despite its scarcity of native diversified forest and teeming invasive weed infested lots the park draws a good variety of bird species. Due to its prime location and penchant for attracting bird life, Dreier-Offerman is explored annually in December during the Christmas Bird Census. I remembered a recent visit seeing Killdeer and rare Eastern Meadowlark and Rusty Blackbirds on the fields, an astounding sighting of a migrating Peregrine Falcon. Sparrows and waterfowl were plentiful. Many different duck species were seen in Coney Island Creek, as well as offshore in Gravesend Bay.
If Dreier-Offerman Park attracts a decent diversity of bird life in its current state, how much richer would it become if incorporated in a “green” master plan? I refer to a user study done in 1991, conducted by a social scientist hired by the Riverside Park Fund, attesting to this park concept: people favored removal of illicit activities, greater riverfront access, upgrading of recreational facilities and amenities.
To consolidate my argument for Dreier-Offerman Park's natural significance, simply refer to the Hudson-Raritan Estuary Ecosystem Restoration Project. Authorized by the United States Congressional Resolution of April 15th 1999,the HRE Project named Dreier-Offerman Park one of thirteen representative sites for coastal and wetland restoration projects. Because of long termed habitat degradation along the Hudson River ecological complex, the dire need to restore coastal ecology and environment is necessary for functional and systemic integrity and quality of life for water ecology and wildlife resources (http:/www.hudsonraritanrestoration.org ).
Dreier-Offerman Park would be an ideal model for coastal and upland mitigation and restoration. This 75- acre park that offers grand views of southern New York harbor is due for an extensive makeover; the possibility of a tidal wetland or coastal rich ecosystem, an enhanced forested, shrubby and vegetated environment to augment the waterways and shores is of utmost importance.
Commissioner Benepe, protect this city park from further decline and exploitation. Prevent future illegal exploitation by self-serving parties and create a balanced, nature-oriented master plan for this important coastal location. Dreier –Offerman needs your help in securing a Conceptual Master Plan. Manhattan’s Riverside Park, once appalling, now stands as a stunning waterfront park after capital projects restored the park from its Conceptual Master Plan. The same could be done for Dreier–Offerman Park. (History of Riverside Park)
Recovering new greenspaces such as Brooklyn Bridge Park, Spring Creek landfill park conversion, and restored parks like Marine Park Salt Marsh Center enhance Brooklyn are past examples of a success with critically needed outdoor havens for the people of New York City. Make Dreier-Offerman Park part of that success story.
Honorable Mayor Michael Bloomberg
Honorable Borough President Marty Markowitz
Julius Spiegel, Borough Commissioner
Charles A. Gili, Chief of Operations
Bill Tai, Director of Natural Resources Group
Liam Kavanagh, First Deputy Commissioner
Amy L. Freitag, Deputy Commissioner for Capital Projects
U.S Representative Vito Fossella
E.J. McAdams, NYC Audubon"