Pelham village and school officials are working on a plan to ensure Julianne's Playground stays locked up at night after complaints from nearby residents from of loitering and disruptive behavior.
Angela Cox, a spokeswoman for the Pelham school district, and Joseph Benefico, chief of the Pelham police department, said they are aware of complaints from neighbors of the playground, located in the area of Sixth Street and Third Avenue in the village of Pelham. The playground, which was originally known as the Sixth Street Playground, was renamed after Julianne Borsella in 2001 after she lost her battle with cancer in 2000 at the age of 8 years.
The property is owned by the school district.
Maureen Borsella, Julianne’s mother, said she’s seen the playground go downhill to the point where residents are afraid to bring their children. Borsella said juveniles have been at the playground odd hours of the night drinking, littering and yelling because the park isn’t locked up regularly.
She recently brought her concerns up during last month's Pelville Association meeting.
“Years ago, that piece of property was leased to the town and the recreation department used to have an attendant there and they kind of kept order,” Borsella said. “And now, after 3 p.m., the parents are afraid to take their children there.”
Borsella said a number of instances of vandalism have taken already taken place, including the recent destruction of the park’s sign.
Cox said the district, village police department and the recreation department are currently working out an arrangement to make sure the playground is locked up at night. She was unable to say when any plan would go into effect.