2 SEPTEMBER 16, 2021 RIDGEWOOD TIMES WWW.QNS.COM
Mafera Park cleanup helps bring attention to necessary renovations
BY JULIA MORO
Community group Friends of
Mafera Park organized a park
cleanup consisting of residents, high
school students and various community
leaders on Aug. 27 to raise
awareness of the needed upgrades
for the Ridgewood park.
Friends of Mafera Park, a group of
locals, originally joined forces in 2016
to get funding for much-needed renovations
in the park, such as updated
equipment and fencing.
Linda Byszynski, the leader of
Friends of Mafera Park, said over 80
people came to Mafera Park to help
clean up trash and weed the overgrown
brush. Church groups, local
high school football teams and others
all came out to support the cause.
This cleanup is just one part of a series
of events at Mafera Park to bring
attention to necessary renovations.
“A wide coalition of community
members and stakeholders came
together to push for the renovation
and to make noise so that we can
be taken seriously,” Byszynski said.
“Hopefully, funds will be invested
into the park.”
Angelina Aponte, a local Girl Scout,
was involved in getting the word out
about the cleanup. Aponte also grew
up going to Mafera Park and said she
didn’t realize how dangerous the
conditions were until she got older.
“I’ve gone there most of my childhood,”
Aponte said. “As a kid, you
never realize how bad the conditions
are. You’re not looking for it; you’re
just on the playground. But in recent
years, I’ve noticed how unsafe it is.”
Most recently, Assemblyman
Andrew Hevesi, state Senator Joseph
Addabbo and Councilman Robert
Holden signed a letter sent to the
MTA yesterday requesting they repair
a barbed wire fence separating
the railroad from the park.
For some time now, residents have
brought up safety concerns about the
fence, which the MTA owns.
Back in June, Friends of Mafera
Park held a walkthrough event with
community leaders to show the
conditions of the grounds. Holden attended
the meeting, promising to help
secure funding. Since then, Byszynski
said she hasn’t been able to get a commitment
from the councilman.
“It doesn’t seem like a priority for
him,” Byszynski said. “But, we’ll
see when it gets closer to November.
When it’s election time, there are a lot
of promises being made. But we want
Byszynski said she doesn’t think
it was a coincidence that Holden
came to the walkthrough meeting at
Mafera Park near the primary elections
“I don’t think he’s noticed the
Ridgewood community as much as
he’s noticed the Middle Village community,”
Byszynski said. “We hope if
we show him we’re not going to stop,
that he will make a commitment to
Holden did not respond to QNS’
request for comment.
Byszynski mentioned that just
a few miles away, Juniper Park in
Middle Village received millions of
dollars for renovations.
“It’s a slow process, but it is frustrating,”
Byszynski said. “I think community
members who go to Mafera
Park are getting frustrated that other
parks are getting more attention
than parks in the Ridgewood and
Residents gather at Mafera Park to help clean trash.
Photo courtesy of Linda Byszynski
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