West and East Village, Chelsea, Soho, Noho, Little Italy, Chinatown and Lower East Side, Since 1933
Volume 77, Number 20 | October 17 - 23, 2007

Fence is offensive, neighbors say

By Kara Bloomgarden-Smoke

Lois Slessinger and the E. Fourth St. Block Association are up in arms because P.S. 751 began work on a 10-foot locked fence around the schoolyard, despite their protests.

Slessinger first found out about the proposed fence when she overheard a school official telling the plan to a reporter from this newspaper a few weeks ago. The open yard is a meeting point for block residents, and the elderly neighbors especially enjoy the benches and planters. Safety is being cited as the official reason for the fence.

According to Slessinger, a more community-friendly way of dealing with the alleged homeless people and beer drinkers who use the park would be to increase police presence, or, at the very least, put up signs that prohibit drinking and dogs in the schoolyard.

Although a meeting is scheduled for Friday to discuss the issue, work began Monday afternoon.

Officials at P.S. 751 refused to comment and a staff member for Councilmember Rosie Mendez said she would have to check with Mendez, who was out of the office with a cold, before commenting.

Public Advocate Betsy Gotbaum and a Department of Education spokesperson did not return phone calls by press time.

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