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Pelham Residents Push For Change At Local Park

PELHAM, N.Y. – Julianne’s Playground has been a popular spot to hang out in Pelham since 2001 and now village residents are working with the Pelham Board of Education, which owns the park, to bring it back to its intended purpose.

The park was dedicated by the Pelham Board of Education in honor of Anthony and Maureen Borsella’s daughter a year after she died in 2000 from Ewing’s Sarcoma. The 8-year-old “grew up there and it’s a place she liked a lot,” said her father, Anthony Borsella, who also is a sergeant with the Pelham Police Department. However, the park has given way to older kids and become unruly because there is no attendant and it is not locked at night.

“Young moms with their kids can’t come in because there’s groups of older kids – it’s a little out of control. It needs to be watched a little more closely,” Borsella said. “They’re a little bit above the age of what the park was designed for. There’s no supervision, it’s become a hang out spot.”

The Borsellas had been working with the board on maintenance issues at the park, which the board took care of, including the removal of a shed from which the older kids were jumping off. The park's sign also was damaged twice – leading to a combined $3,300 worth of repairs – and there has been littering as well.

Pelville Association President Tom Riccio, who has been helping the Borsellas with the issue, said the school “administration has been very cooperative,” but “nobody has any money for anything.”

When the Pelham Recreation Department owned the Sixth Street and Third Avenue park, there was an attendant and call box, which had a direct line to the Pelham Police Department, to cut down on crime.

Anthony Borsella would like to see an attendant at the park because “the Board of Ed relies on residents to report any issues” and “the police department responds to everything, but when you have an unlocked park, they’re out one side and then a new group comes.” The push for an improved park atmosphere is “echoed throughout the community,” said Borsella, who called it a very popular park that is not all it could be.

Riccio and the Borsellas are hoping to set up a meeting with administrative officials of the Pelham School District to discuss the possibility of having an attendant on duty and also closing of the park at night.

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