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Report: Less Than Half of Mott Haven Residents Have Adequate Access to Public Green Space

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More than 46,000 people live in the Mott Haven section of the Bronx, but less than half of them have adequate access to public green space, says a report released by park advocates. NY1's Erin Clarke filed the following report.

Even on a dreary weekday, people were still using St. Mary's Park.

It's the largest city park in the Mott Haven neighborhood, and most who spend time here live just a few steps away.

However, St. Mary's is too far away for most who live in the neighborhood, according to a report released by the advocacy group New Yorkers for Parks. It found that a large majority of Mott Haven residents don't live within five or 10 minutes from a park, a standard set by the city in a plan to enhance the quality of life for all residents.

The report noted that areas like the one near the Mitchell Houses don't have easy access to city parks, large or small.

"The closest park is on 143 and I believe Brook Avenue," said one neighborhood resident. "It's a long walk from here."

"I have to take a bike ride to Harlem," said another.

The report did acknowledge that a growing number of community gardens are filling some gaps.

"The gardens are the very best," said Tupper Thomas, executive director of New Yorks for Parks. "There's some really beautiful gardens."

Those, along with non-traditional park spaces, could serve as alternatives where the landscape isn't likely to change to accommodate new parks.

"School playgrounds are not normally included, and now, they are more and more included," Thomas said "Looking for sites where there might be some vacancies and you can set up more of a park."

The report also noted that the available parkland is aging and recommended capital investments for updates, as well as an overall effort be made to make Mott Haven greener.

Mayor Bill de Blasio and the City Council have promised increased funding, but New Yorkers for Parks said it isn't sure the money will cover all the enhancements it said are needed in parks throughout the city. The group is exploring other options for raising funds.

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