Oct. 26, 2020 By Christian Murray
With the city budget being slashed, Sunnyside resident Daniel Toronto has formed a group that aims to keep a local public park in good condition.
Toronto has just launched an organization that aims to cleanup and maintain Lou Lodati/Torsney Park, which is located on the corner of Skillman Avenue and 43rd Street.
The organization he has formed, called ‘The Volunteers of Torsney Lodati,’ will have its first clean up on Saturday, Nov. 7. He aims to have a clean up once every two months.
Toronto said he got the idea after learning that the City had cut the budget—particular to the Parks Dept.
The Parks Dept. budget was slashed by $84 million, representing a 14 percent decrease. The cuts have resulted in the deterioration of many playgrounds and public parks across the city.
“With the government rolling back its budget, now is the time we need to take care of each other and connect,” Toronto, who lives on Skillman Avenue, said. “I have always believed that every individual has to do what they can to help the community.”
Toronto has been working with the NYC Parks Dept., which has been providing advice on getting his organization up and running, as well as connecting with other groups.
The Parks Dept. put him in touch with the Friends of Noonan Playground that was launched in June, which has provided some feedback. The Parks Dept. is also providing brooms, gloves, garbage bags and similar items.
Toronto said that he aims to work with different people committed to different sections of the park. For instance, he would work with Rick Duro, who helps maintain the dog run as part of Sunnyside United Dog Society, while with parents who would take charge of the playground.
The organization has so far recruited seven volunteers. Toronto said he is about to reach out to people through social media and believes that Sunnyside is the type of community where many people will sign on.