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MAY 19 - MAY 26, 2015

Dyster Promises More Asphalt in Jayne Park "Unveiling" Ceremony

By Anna Howard

May 19, 2015

More paving to come to Jayne Park

Something funny happened on the way to the "unveiling" of the mayor's Jayne Park "restoration" work. As he spoke at the 1 pm, May 13 unveiling of the first phase of Jayne Park "improvements" Mr. Dyster: ignored the messy and incomplete park work performed in November/December; surprisingly announced the launch of a "second phase" of park work; said the second phase will add to the length of the controversial ten foot wide "walking path"; reported that he found a grant of $145,000 to cover second phase work; and, said that the walking path will be used as a service road for city vehicles.

The mayor made his remarks in a prepared statement delivered from his Mayor's podium, perched on the park's new wooden deck overlook. Surely this media event takes the Dyster cake for nerve, duplicity and the time-honored bait and switch. In his park appearance the mayor not only failed to explain the unfinished and messy park work done to date, he effectively told Cayuga Island residents that he was on a roll and intended to keep on rolling with a second wave of park work.

And now the mayor and Cayuga Island residents are at the precise point that the Reporter has been warning of since 2009 when the Dyster-DeSantis park plan drew its first breath on a city hall drawing board. The mayor's nose is in the Jayne Park tent and he's not leaving until he has drained every available grant dollar and awarded every possible construction contract whether the residents like it or not.

The island inhabitants can't say they weren't warned as the mayor seamlessly shape shifts from phase-one to a "surprise-surprise" phase-two with not a single word of explanation separating one from the other.

Sherman marched from Atlanta to the sea, destroying everything in front of him and Dyster is marching not once, but at least twice, from one end of Jayne Park to the other in a show of force that's fueled by the mayor's unbridled political will. So why was the planned modest walking path widened to ten feet, asked the residents last November? Now they know, the mayor planned to use the path as a road for trucks. Which is quite amusing since the park hasn't seen a city truck or workers in the park since Dyster took office. If the residents don't like the path at its current width and length they're going to like it a lot less as Dyster extends it further while parking city vehicles on it.

Community Development Director Seth Piccirillo took it upon himself to circulate the media announcement for the mayor's unveiling with the announcement headline, "Mayor Paul Dyster officially unveils Jayne Park Restoration Project." It read: "Mayor Dyster is proud to unveil the following improvements at Jayne Park made possible by New York Environmental Protection Fund and Niagara River Greenway grants: Removal of dead trees/obsolete playground equipment, New landscape plantings: trees, shrubs, wild flowers etc (including beds and mulch), asphalt trail and waterside overlook, and new park amenities: benches, trash receptacles, picnic table, picnic shelter, playground equipment and safety surfacing."

Where to begin? Dead trees should have been removed on a routine yearly basis for the past seven years, but were not. No playground equipment obsolete or other was removed or replaced. A few shrubs were planted but no flowers or very large trees. No flower beds were installed and therefore no mulch (why would a bag of mulch rate a credit line in an announcement?). The picnic shelter and tables were previously there. Some metal benches and trashcans were placed. And my goodness yes, an "asphalt trail" is now there, and it's going to grow even longer in Dyster's phase two. As for the reference to playground "safety surfacing" unless roughly chipped dead trees qualifies as "safety surfacing" then Mr. Piccirillo knows something we don't since a rubber mat or shredded rubber are recommended by the state.

The root word of restoration is restore. Nothing was restored in the "restoration" work. The shoreline was changed, not restored. The overlook was added not restored. The asphalt trail was added not restored. The playground equipment was left as is, not restored. It didn't require restoration only a rubber safety base that it didn't get.

Words have meaning and truth, this is the only genuine currency of the human race. That being said the Dyster administration is bankrupt. The Reporter has written in detail as to how the park could have been improved by working with the park's natural strengths: birds, north marsh, green space, native plants, trees and green shoreline. The difference between working with nature and paving nature over is the difference between green and black. At the end of the day the Jayne Park plan serves as a microcosm of all that's wrong with Dyster's city hall. The mayor's administration tells the taxpayer time and again that an apple is an orange, it's rude to ask questions and transparency is bad for one's health.

As was written in last week's Reporter, the mayor and his planner have succeeded in bringing the city into the park rather than the park into the city. They have damaged and devalued the neighborhood's natural green buffer, introduced noise and visual pollution and paved a road through the park. How much abuse can the Cayuga Island residents tolerate? From the looks of it: quite a bit.

It may not be much of a view from the overlook at Jayne Park - peering into the backyards of neighbors but the platform and railing helped the Dyster administration spend some matching grant money.






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