The park in the city's 2nd Ward has become a magnet for vandals, officials said.
By DENISE DICK
VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF
WARREN -- The city's Operations Department will dismantle the equipment at North End Park by the end of summer.
Mayor Hank Angelo said a continually tight budget means the city will continue to maintain its larger, more centrally located parks: Perkins, Packard, Deemer and Burbank.
"That means North End, Southwest and Gould-Stewart probably are not going to get the attention they deserve," he said.
Angelo said he told the operations department to dismantle the equipment at North End Park on Comstock Street.
"All that will be there is a basketball court and empty fields," he said.
The park, like some others in the city, has remained closed since the city's budget crisis of 2000 and is drawing vandals.
Gates at the park entrance were locked, but people have broken through.
Both Frank Tempesta, operations department director, and Councilman Alford Novak, D-2nd, said safety has become an issue.
"The shelter there is 25 to 30 years old, and it's rusted. My concern is that if someone was underneath it and a good strong wind came, it could fall in," said Novak, whose ward includes the park.
"On July 4 it was a real problem. People were out there shooting off fireworks," Novak said. "There's loud music and noise, and some of the people told me they heard gunshots. I went up there and found shell casings, and I don't believe it's people from the neighborhood."
Vandals scrawled graffiti on the equipment, which included swings, the shelter and a climbing apparatus.
"Anything that was there, they tried to tear it out of the ground," Tempesta said.
The shelter and all the equipment will be removed along with any basketball hoops.
"Some of it may be able to be salvaged," Tempesta said. "The rest we'll have to scrap."
The dismantling will occur before summer's end, he said.
"I just felt that if it can't be repaired, let's get it removed," Novak said.
During his first few years on council, Novak said he helped secure block grants to refurbish the baseball fields with new backstops and dugouts.
Vandals have destroyed much of that, he said.
"It was closed during the 2000 layoffs, and we had no money and not enough police to patrol it, and it kept deteriorating more," Novak said.
"Now, there's nothing up there that's in good shape, and that's a shame. That park's been there for 40 years."