September 02, 2006
GLOUCESTER CITY'S FORT NASSAU is in need of repair- The playground at the Johnson Blvd Jogging Field was constructed in April 1999 using donations from the business community along with the hard work of over 100 volunteers. It took four days to build and when completed it was a site to behold. However just seven years later the Fort is showing wear and neglect.
Over a $100,000 was received in donations.
Some of those who contributed included the Holt Family which gave over $20,000. The City Rotary Club and Solicitor James Maley contributed between $10,000 and $19,999. And other businesses donated between $2,000 and $9,999.
One would assume the Gloucester Highway Department was responsible for maintaining the structure. Maybe there are no funds in the budget to take care of it. Who knows why this has been allowed to happen?
Something should be done now to fix the problems before it becomes too late. If not already. Rest assure those who donated their time, sweat and hard work along with financial assistance won't be pleased when they view the present conditions.
To those who feel I am being too critical about the problems at some of our city's playgrounds; what is your answer to correct this situation?
Are we to turn our backs and pretend the lack of maintenance is acceptable? If that is your answer I doubt the majority of city residents would agree with you.
My goal is to work along with the government in their quest to "Enhance the City's Image." After all this is our community too. We have a right to question why some playgrounds are not being maintained properly. And we have a right to ask, no an obligation, to demand that those in charge be held responsible for not doing their job (s).
The photo shows the historical etchings that were placed along the front inside of the fort. As you can see they are now destroyed because of the lack of maintenance. If you wish to comment just post it below this article. Whether you agree or disgree. Speak out. Or email me at BillGCN@verizon.net.
Fort Nassau Playground Coordinator Apologies
I am writing this letter to inform the residents of town about the future of
the Fort Nassau Playground. As the volunteer coordinator of Community Built Playground, I feel that I owe an apology to all the volunteers who assisted with the building of the playground. Eight years ago, I asked people to come out and help with this wonderful project. Back then it was great to see the community come together for the benefit of the children of this town.
Everyone involved in the project felt the true spirit of Gloucester City. But now it seems that after several meetings with City Officials, it has been decided by the City that this playground cannot be maintained properly and must be modified.
The modifications are very severe. The City officials have decided to tear down most of the components of the playground inside the picket fencing.
There have been several meetings to discuss the future of the playground. At the meeting on February 19 it was decided that the playground Committee members would assist in the cost and labor to bring the playground up to code.
According to the official survey dated April 11, 2006, the "conditions at the Fort Nassau Park remain favorable and in good condition. Equipment at the park appeared to conform to CPCS Guidelines for the safety of children. However a few items of concern were noted during the survey and are offered as suggestions for improvement."
The most recent survey dated January 15, provided a complete listing of all necessary repairs to bring the playground up to code and even possibly meet yearly to make sure that the playground doesn't fall into disrepair again.
However, at the meeting held at the playground site on February 25, 2007, it appears that the City officials have "changed their minds" and all that was agreed upon at the February 19, 2007 meeting is now null and void.
The new City Officials have now made it clear that they do not want to deal with the issues of this playground and are unable to fully maintain it, so it needs to go!
Most people realize that it takes a lot of work to maintain a unique wooden playground and all of the people at the meetings understand the issues that occur at the site of the playground. We also realize that PSE&G had donated playground equipment to the city.
But do you have to tear down a playground in order to place that equipment on that site? Put the new equipment in an area of town that needs it the most. Why spend more money to tear it down when it will cost the city much less to make the changes that are needed? There are many options that have been discussed in order to work together to make some changes, but it seems that the city had already made their decision (even prior) to these so called meetings).
So for my apology to residents who donated money, sponsored playground equipment, provided food for the crews, lent your tools for the project, purchased a picket or paver, and who came out and donated their time for five days in the sun and rain to build this unique playground.
I am so sorry that all of your efforts are being destroyed after only eight years. It is very disheartening that other towns have made efforts to keep their community built playgrounds for over 15 years, but Gloucester City can't…or won't?
I will continue to try to work with the City Officials to save the playground; but as they say sometimes "you just can't fight the City Hall".
Marie McNutt, Gloucester City
We Were Cheated Again said...
I like to know what happen to all the money that was donated. We were told back then the amount raised was somewhere near $100,000 plus.
Material was donated, Labor was donated.....so how come there was never a breakdown? What did it cost to build?
It is obvious the balance wasn't spent to maintain the site.
Why was the condition of the playground allowed to deteriorate in the first place?
Work on the Fort Nassau Playground Began in March; When Will It Be Completed?...May 2007
By Bill Cleary
I stopped at the Ft. Nassau playground at the Johnson Boulevard Jogging Track today, Friday. Several residents have complained to me about the safety condition of the facility and I wanted to get a firsthand look.
I last visited the site in March when the Parks and Playgrounds
workers began the project to demolish some of the Fort and re-build other sections of it.
The public is upset that some the sections of the Fort that were taken down in March are still laying on the sides of the facility. As for inside the Fort there is so much debris, some of it dangerous, (in some areas metal rods are sticking up through the ground). Paper and plastic bottles are thrown all about. The ground under the swings and in other areas is all un-even. A child running could easily trip and fall.
The photo appeared on ClearysNotebook last week. It was taken by a Concerned Parent. After that post appeared some of the items were taken away by the City I presume. But much still remains. see story
I don't know what is taking so long? From what I understand the City was going to put up some play equipment and tear down the fence. The ground needs to be level, and new mulch or sand has to be spread about. Put the equipment in place and it should be finished. Apparently though there is more that needs to be done then I am aware of.
If I can be so bold to make a suggestion to those in charge, be it Mayor and Council or Street Superintendent James Johnson…..erect a sign reading (Danger Stay Out) or something like that and hang it at the entrance of the Fort. Also place some kind of barrier up at the front. Two- by- fours crisscrossed across the front with the sign.
If the Street Superintendent could spare a couple of men for an hour one day to get rid of the broken boards and old cement on the side of the Fort. Plus put up the barrier and sign I think it would help until the project is completed.
Don’t forget there are people who visit our community during the day and stop at the Fort. They are not aware of the changes the City intends to make. What they see are the deplorable conditions. They leave our community with the wrong impression.
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Donna Fisher said...
Wednesday I was at the Ft. Nassau playground with my son. During the time I was there a City Highway Department truck with three men pulled up on the side of the Fort. The men set inside the cab for 20 minutes then got out and spent five minutes picking up trash. I overheard one of them say let's go it is time for lunch.
With city employees like this it is no wonder the rebuilding of the Ft.Nassau playground is taking so long.
what a racket they have. Where are the supervisors? Who is minding the store?
It is disgraceful. We elected new people to council to put a stop to city workers not doing their jobs. After today I don't see where much has changed from the previous administration.
They are not afraid of their supervisors thats why they dont do anything. It makes family parties awkward on the weekends if your uncle or dad yell at you at work.
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR May 2007
Mr. Cleary-I am a concerned parent who was quite upset that the city chose to tear down the park instead of repairing what was broken. My children were quite concerned with how long it was going to take the city to make the necessary repairs. We waited about 3 weeks for the caution tape to be removed from the park.
Imagine our chagrin when we entered the park to find it in worse condition than before the city started to work on it. I'm sending some pictures of what we have seen everyday for the last two weeks when we go to check on the park. Eventually someone's child is going to get hurt on the nails or broken wood.
In reading your column, I have found that you seem to be unfazed about taking the city to task for their incompetencies. Incidentally the repairs began, according to ClearysNotebook on or about March 12. (See photo of flag at lions rest stop).
Thank you in advance for your attention to the safety of our children.
A Concerned Parent
April 17, 2008
LETTERS...Gloucester City: Fort Nassau Playground Apalling
"The other day I took my children to Fort Nassau Park and was astonished to find such deplorable conditions. Besides trash all over and no trash cans, crossing the tracks there was a drain with rusty colored water (didn't look very healthy).
More disturbing was the graffiti all over the equipment.
Inside the tube was spray painted Die N$%%er and a swastika along with many curse words just not a nice experience. When the new council members were elected two years ago they promised to keep after the City Highway Department to maintain this site.
They also promised to increase police patrols in the area to stop the vandalism. I am sure they are trying but if anything the Park looks no different than it did before they were elected."
Concerned Parent said...
I agree that something needs to be done at Fort Nassau. I know this is also a hot spot for teenage drinking. Maybe the Police need to patrol this area more often.
Reply April 17, 2008 at 09:24
Same old leadership. No change at the top equales no change at the bottom.
Reply April 17, 2008 at 09:30
yeah, the police should start crawling through the tubes to check for grafitti on a regular basis. Maybe the parents should stop leting their teen age children roam around all night doing this stuff.
Reply April 17, 2008 at 14:30
Concerned Parent, You live and play here with your children. Why don't YOU make an honest effort to pitch in and clean up the park? Did anyone see you at Gloucester cleanup day? Maybe you should run for Mayor. You are obviously the best person for the job.
Reply April 17, 2008 at 23:37
I do agree that these conditions are horrible, however you can not blame the police department for not patroling the area. I have been walking the track many times at night and see the police checking the park. I remember not that long ago we used to have a park guard that worked there to keep an eye on the park but she hasn't been there in a couple of years. I think the majority happens within the first couple hours after school when all the kids are down there playing! Maybe a community group should be formed to keep an eye on the parks or the city should bring the park guard back to work from 3pm to 6 or 7 pm.
Reply April 17, 2008 at 23:49
blame game said...
You can't blame these problems on the cops or anybody else except the kids who are responsible. If I was a kid and i was writing or spray painting that would be the ideal place you could see the cops coming from a mile away! Why doesn't the city put more lighting down there at night time?
APRIL 2008 CHEERS AND JEERS COL.
· JEERS-Once again vandals are destroying the Fort Nassau playground located at the Johnson Blvd. jogging track in Gloucester City. Most recently they sprayed painted the words "Die N$%%er" and a swastika along with many curse words on some of the park equipment. The only way this is going to stop is to close down the Fort altogether. Move the equipment across the street to the Martin Lake Park. The vandals seem to stay away from that area because the park is surrounded by residential homes. While on the other hand the Fort is located in an area that is hard for the police to patrol because of all the foliage.
Read more: http://www.gloucestercitynews.net/clearysnotebook/2011/12/cnbnews-november-cheers-and-jeers.html#ixzz1g4tis200