Councilor Blasts Neider Park Design and Increased Park Traffic

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

Greco:

“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

Sample yard signs for residents to deter speeding

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.

Believe!

 

 

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10 comments

  1. Yes John has it right. I have lived on this street for almost 60 years. Speeding is a problem. Signs dont’t work. We have a slow down sign at the beginning of the street. Back in the day when this playground held city games here people were much more civil. I’ve heard GPD did do a radar check here. Sitting wide open in the parking you can be seen. So I’m pretty sure They wont speed when the see the cars. Many of us also believe there are drugs deals in this parking lot.
    We as parents and Grandparents sit out side when the kids are out playing to make sure they are careful and don’t run into the road.. Many times you can hear us yelling “CARS”.
    There are about 25 kids that live here. We all watch out for each other. Just like in the old days.

    I invite you to come sit with us for a few different days to watch the Avenue B raceway.

    Also tell me how Jefferson Avenue can get a three way stop sign put up on that street near their playground ?
    Why cant the city do something about us?

    Again I invite you to come sit with us. Call John, give him a phone number I can reach you at .
    My name is Rosemarie Bruno-Hess.

    Like

    • Hello Rosemarie,

      Thank you for your comments. I’m pleased to know that the Avenue B neighborhood is a community that watches out for one another. You have provided more information about the speeding problem than our Councilor did. As you know, the city cannot legally lower the speed limit. While the occasional police car parked in the lot might help with any speeding, residents of Avenue B cannot expect the PD to assign a car to sit at the end of their street with any regularity.

      Other locations have found that multiple yard signs and Neighborhood Watch groups can remind drivers to slow down. Mostly, though, I would suggest that rather than sitting in front of your houses and getting angry at the speeders, you could have residents take turns sitting in the parking lot and talking directly to the people who are using the lot. Not to confront them or accuse them, but in a friendly way, let them know that there are 25 children on the street, and that you want everyone enjoy the park without the potential of a tragedy. You’d be amazed at what kind of progress can be made by simply stepping off of your front steps and engaging in a friendly conversation.

      However, I’m uneasy with your characterization of those using the basketball court as not being “civil” enough, and the accusation of open-air drug dealing also serves to characterize those using the court as criminals. If your perception of the people using the Avenue B park entrance is this negative, I fear that any attempted dialogue by you with the park goers would be futile.

      I would also offer that many times the perceived speed of a vehicle can seem much faster than 30mph when viewed from the sidewalk or a front porch. I wonder how many cars are speeding, and how many cars are going at or below the speed limit but appear to be going faster. Without a radar gun, it’s incredibly difficult to accurately assess a car’s speed in your situation.

      Finally, I will respectfully decline your offer to come and sit on Avenue B to watch the cars go by. I’m not in a position to solve the apparent speeding issue. The solution, in my estimation, lies in the hands of the residents of Avenue B, not this blog and not the city.

      Thank you again for your comments!

      Like

      • Let me start by saying your response ,” Any attempt of dialogue by me would be futile.”.is tantamount to how I feel of your response.
        We have spoken to some of the kids/ young adults . Some didn’t realize that there are that many kids. They said they would be careful and they have been. But the others that we try to speak to Use explicative language back at us. My daughter was even spit at when she had no conversation , just standing near me. I’m not the only person to try to talk to these people . Other neighbors have endured the same treatment [ except for the spiting]. Some of the neighbors I believe are afraid to speak up for fear of repercussion. I will give you its just a few with the speeding. But it is Happening.
        Let me tell you more about this Avenue. Most of the family have been living / owning for at least 20 or more years. With about 7 of us taking pride in the fact that our homes are generational. Some of us with at least 5 generations.

        Also you asked if complaints were made many years ago. Back when the American Can employees parked in lots here it was a different world. . As far as games the playground hosted. I don’t recall Little League playing here. Practice probably, which would draw fewer cars. City league more traffic but no problems. The world was a much more respectable place then. I’m guessing your too young to know that. BTW there were no cells back then either. [That’s another story]

        As far as you declining I expected that. No you or the Geneva Believer can’t solve our problems I agree. But I feel you slammed the residents of Avenue B and John Greco.

        When you first started this news letter I was very excited about different views to read.

        Sincerely,

        Rosemarie

        I’m still wondering How Jefferson Avenue got a 3 way stop.

        Like

      • Let me start by saying your response ,” Any attempt of dialogue by me would be futile.”.is tantamount to how I feel of your response.

        That wasn’t my intention and I’m sorry you felt that way. I might have my disagreements with people, but I want what’s best for everyone in Ward 6. I think that talking things out works.

        We have spoken to some of the kids/ young adults . Some didn’t realize that there are that many kids. They said they would be careful and they have been.

        That’s great to hear!

        But the others that we try to speak to Use explicative language back at us. My daughter was even spit at when she had no conversation , just standing near me. I’m not the only person to try to talk to these people . Other neighbors have endured the same treatment [ except for the spiting]. Some of the neighbors I believe are afraid to speak up for fear of repercussion.”

        That must be really frustrating for you. It sounds like something’s going seriously wrong with the discussion

        I will give you its just a few with the speeding. But it is Happening.

        So is the problem speeding, or is the problem that you don’t like the increased traffic and you think some of the park goers have been rude to you?

        The good news is that both issues can be solved.

        Let me tell you more about this Avenue. Most of the family have been living / owning for at least 20 or more years. With about 7 of us taking pride in the fact that our homes are generational. Some of us with at least 5 generations.

        That’s great, Rosemarie. I think that one thing we’ve lost in this country is the sense of community with one’s neighbors. I’m glad to know that Avenue B has this kind of history!

        Also you asked if complaints were made many years ago. Back when the American Can employees parked in lots here it was a different world.

        Yes, even though I don’t remember the old American Can, I can see that a lot has changed since then.

        As far as games the playground hosted. I don’t recall Little League playing here. Practice probably, which would draw fewer cars.

        Actually, I mentioned Little League because I found information about Little League games at Neider Park in 1974.

        City league more traffic but no problems. The world was a much more respectable place then. I’m guessing your too young to know that.

        How young do you think I am? I’m only probably ten years younger than you, so I don’t think our experience is that different.

        As far as you declining I expected that. No you or the Geneva Believer can’t solve our problems I agree. But I feel you slammed the residents of Avenue B and John Greco.

        I only reported on what John said at the meeting. I didn’t mean to slam the residents.

        When you first started this news letter I was very excited about different views to read.

        Thank you!

        I’m still wondering How Jefferson Avenue got a 3 way stop.

        Because there’s a three-way intersection at the park entrance?

        Like

  2. Yes, a three way stop by the park entrance. [Wasn’t there years ago] Very few parking spaces there. (Like 3) With parking by special permit. That I noticed tonight. So its public property I assume. Referring to Jefferson here.

    As far as the park…I could care less who plays there. My biggest concern is the cars ,like I said a few speeding down the street. As far as the playground for the littles. Last time I ventured there the slides smelled like urine. and there were condoms there. So we don’t use that part. Also take the trash and I mean litter with you. Don’t leave it in the parking lot.

    Funny that I mention about the litter. There was a post on a friends facebook berating the Gulvins kids for leaving trash behind.

    As far as the drugs yes its happening. You can see the exchange. I kind of really don’t care about that . I believe they’ll get caught later than sooner. But it will happen. Kudos to GPD for all the busts this year.

    As far as the baseball In 74 I was 16. You think I hung around here? lol

    Like

    • So, it would appear that a three-way stop was put in place next to the Jefferson Park entrance to make it safer for pedestrians. I guess you might see it as the Jefferson Park neighborhood getting ‘special treatment’ but if the City could legally change the signage on Avenue B to make it safer for everyone, I’m sure they would. I do understand why you might feel like Ward 6 is not getting the same attention as other Wards in the city.

      Litter is an issue at most, if not all, city parks. Maybe some signs reminding people to pick up their litter, or a trash can closer to the parking lot would help. But sometimes, maybe the park just needs a few neighbors to spend a couple of minutes picking up trash. I’m not saying that littering is acceptable, because it’s not, I’m just trying to throw a few potential solutions out there.

      As far as alleged drug sales in the park: If people see what they think are drug sales in the Neider parking lot, does that mean everyone using the parking lot is involved? Of course not, and we all need to be careful that we don’t assume that everyone who drives (or speeds) down Avenue B is involved in drug activity. I know you didn’t make that assumption but when it gets mentioned in a conversation about the park, some people can read it and make those assumptions.

      I know that you and everyone on Avenue B appreciates Councilor Greco for speaking up for you at the City Council meeting. But I was disappointed that he offered little in the way of solutions to the speeding problem, and instead just lodged general complaints, including complaints about the volume of traffic on Avenue B. The park still has a long way to go, but any action by the city to finally do some work on the park is a good thing for all of Ward 6.

      If John had taken time during the Council meeting to demand that the city fix the drainage problem around the basketball court so residents could use it more, I would have been thanking him. If he said speeding was a problem on Avenue B and asked Council to discuss legal, low-cost, community-based ways to discourage speeders, I would have been thanking him. If John asked for improved seating for parents near the playground, or for the city to take better care of the parking lot, I would have been thanking him.

      Instead, John took time out of the City Council meeting to speak on behalf of Avenue B, where he lives, and proceeded to harshly criticize all the hard work of the city to improve the park, and the only solutions he offered were expensive (removable speed bumps or increased police presence).

      Like

  3. John was representing the people of Avenue B with asking for the speed bumps. We have called GPD many times and we didn’t want to keep bothering them about the speeders and the drug exchange. If everyone one reads into my accusation of the drugs exchange going on as being all the attendees of the park. I’m sure GPD would be all over that!
    It would be nice if we had the time to pick up trash. Would you like to come over and pick up a dirty condom?
    The easiest fix? Take it with you.
    But that’s the least of the problems.

    The comment about the noise from a another response. Very new neighbors can see that. I don’t get the pleasure as I don’t live down that end!

    Like

    • Sometimes, the easiest fix isn’t always realistic. As far as picking up a dirty condom, that’s not something I would relish, but if I saw it on the ground, I’d grab a stick or something, pick it up and put it in the trash and go about my day.

      Again, John’s comments to council barely addressed speeding. Yes, his job is to represent Avenue B, but Avenue B represents a very small part of Ward 6. And his comments weren’t given in the spirit of finding solutions…they just sounded like complaints. That’s why the article was written. And to be honest, the comments I’ve heard from most (but not all) Avenue B residents has been the same…everyone wants to point out the problems, dismiss potential solutions, and demand that “the city” does something.

      WE, the residents of Geneva, are “the city.” Any issues with speeding or littering in public parks is OUR problem and unless we are willing to participate in solving those problems, we will be seen as complainers.

      Like

  4. Hello I feel that I must add to this conversation. I have lived on this street since 1976. I love the fact that this is a neighborhood where we all get along and watch out for each other. There are at least 21 children that live on this street. I would love to get a yard sign by the way. Not that it would do any good.

    The issue of cars speeding down our street is nothing new. We dealt with it every year that the city leagues used the playground for games.

    When cars come down our street not ALL are speeding. But I will say that they are using speeds not reasonable for our dead end street. Where are you gong so fast you have to break half way down the street because you were going to fast and have to slow down for end of street or stop sign. We have contacted the police but there is little they can do unless they catch someone which is almost impossible even if they do park at the end of the street in the parking lot. Once seen cars slow. We have tried talking to some. They get it. Some ARE speeding, going so fast we can’t even see if it’s a male or female driving. What are we to do? Run up to the corner and try to catch them before they turn before even coming to a complete stop? I have called about speed bumps but was told we can’t use them. Just what else can we do? Police, trying to talk to the drivers, speed bumps. Any suggestions.

    These are our children. Our concern. This is not a small matter. Cars going to fast for this street is a real issue.

    The playground. Yes, we have benches at the playground section of the park. Litter, yes. Swings, maybe they can add an additional baby swing where one has been missing for a year. It is hot out there and not any shade. A pavilion? Great idea. What committee decided that the pavilion would be best served near the basketball court? I think anyone planning a community event would have children. They could watch them better than from the other end of the park. Just my opinion. I mean parents watching children on the playground don’t need shade while watching their children. Need a snack or to get out of the sun for bit kids? We have to go to the opposite end of the playground. Wait I know! Why not put a small one near the playground? How much would that cost? Did the committee ever consider putting even a small one for the children? Maybe we should set up a Go-Fund-Me account and pay for it ourselves.

    When Rosemarie mentioned drugs deals being done in the parking lot, I’m sure she did not mean to infer that the patrons of the court were involved. These deals are happening and the police department is aware of what is happening at the end of Ave. B.

    John Greco is a BELIEVER in Geneva and Avenue B. We are lucky to have him here. Anyone is invited to come sit on my porch and view first hand the traffic. But wait I may be sitting on John’s porch. Why not bring your children?

    Don’t make our concerns seem small and trivial. This is a real threat to the safety of our children.

    Like

    • First, if you think I was trivializing your concerns, I’d encourage you to read the article and my comments again. I absolutely sympathize with your situation. I’ve driven on Avenue B and because it’s such a short, narrow street with so many children, the 30mph speed limit seems too high. Even driving 20mph would be potentially unsafe. Believe me, I get it.

      Unfortunately, as I’ve said, there is nothing that can be done about changing the speed limit. Because this is the reality of the situation, then other solutions must be discussed and implemented.

      If no one is willing to take suggestions and try anything new, nothing will change, no matter how much you complain.

      When I’ve suggested yard signs, I’m told “we tried that, it doesn’t work.”
      When I’ve suggested a Neighborhood Watch, I’m told “that’s not realistic and it won’t work.”
      When I’ve suggested speaking with park goers, I’m told “we’ve done that, but people still speed.”

      I also notice that you have many ideas on how the “new” Neider Park could have been better designed.

      Did you participate in the planning process when it happened back in 2014?

      First, the city announced in February 2014 that they would be putting together the Parks Master Plan.
      http://www.fltimes.com/news/city-parks-plan-expected-to-be-ready-for/article_668b4d36-8ceb-11e3-8c44-0019bb2963f4.html

      Then, the City created a survey that could be done in person or online in May 2014, and announced it publicly.
      http://www.fltimes.com/news/city-seeks-public-input-on-park-improvements/article_a5163d4c-d46a-11e3-94af-001a4bcf887a.html
      http://fingerlakes1.com/2014/05/01/public-input-sought-on-geneva-parks-master-plan/

      And then, in June 2014, the City announced that they would be having public meetings for residents to come and give their ideas for the Parks Master Plan.
      http://fingerlakes1.com/2014/05/01/public-input-sought-on-geneva-parks-master-plan/

      Did Councilor Greco inform you in 2014 when all this was happening? I mean, that’s his job…to help keep residents informed of things like the Parks Master Plan, which would be the process during which plans for Neider Park would be created, with input from the people who live there.

      If you’re upset with the way Neider Park was designed, you should be demanding answers from your city councilor, who apparently thinks that spending time sitting on his porch counting cars is more important that informing his neighbors that the park in their backyards was finally going to be renovated after decades of neglect and that they could help design it.

      Again, I have zero interest in sitting on anyone’s porch on Avenue B, counting cars and griping. I am, however, interested in finding solutions to the speeding problem. There are probably hundreds of dead-end streets in cities around the country who have found solutions to the same problem by coming together, sharing some creative solutions, and taking some responsibility for their own street.

      It’s a shame that some people on Avenue B don’t seem to be willing to do anything other than complain.

      Like

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