Bureau of Audit
Audit Report on the Effectiveness of the Department of Parks and Recreation’s Parks Inspection Program
Bronx Playgrounds Report
MARCH 8, 2012
AUDIT REPORT IN BRIEF
Download the Complete Report (pdf 357 KB)
The New York City Parks and Recreation Department (DPR) maintains a municipal park system of more than 29,000 acres, including more than 1,800 parks and over 1,000 playgrounds. One of DPR’s principal missions is to keep the parks, playgrounds, and sitting areas of New York City clean and safe.
The Parks Inspection Program (PIP) is administered by the Operations and Management Planning (OMP) division. The program provides Parks and Recreation management, elected officials, and the public with a broad indicator of the condition of City parks. The program has been designed to reflect conditions encountered by the public when using Parks facilities.
PIP monitors the quality of maintenance and general conditions of the City’s public parks and recreational facilities. According to OMP, all parks and playgrounds are randomly inspected in two-week cycles that cover 205 different sites. Every site in the City is inspected at least once a year; on average, most sites are inspected twice a year. At the end of each inspection cycle, the OMP officials forward the results of the inspections to DPR officials and Borough officials including the Borough Commissioner and Chief of Operations for review and correction of the hazardous conditions and quality of life issues1 noted by the PIP inspectors. Subsequent to the initial inspection, PIP inspectors revisit some of the playgrounds with unacceptable conditions that needed immediate attention (IA) to verify whether any corrective actions had been taken.
Audit Findings and Conclusions
We found that the OMP officials inspect the playgrounds as required and forward the results of the inspections to DPR officials and Borough officials including the Borough Commissioner and Chief of Operations for review and correction of the unacceptable conditions. Subsequent to the initial inspection, PIP inspectors revisit playgrounds with unacceptable features that were believed to be hazardous to verify whether any corrective action had been taken. In addition, OMP follows up on playgrounds with hazardous conditions at biweekly meetings with the Borough Chief of Operations. OMP also maintains a database that ages all outstanding hazardous conditions and prepares internal reports reflecting the conditions of the playgrounds prior to inspections. However, we identified instances where the Bronx Chief of Operations did not correct hazardous conditions cited by the PIP inspectors in a timely manner.
In addition, while inspecting Randall playground on Castle Hill Avenue, the auditors noticed a missing Playground Regulation sign. The sign should state that no adult is allowed inside of the playground without a child under the age of 12.
The audit recommends that DPR management should:
- Continue to monitor and follow up on conditions that are hazardous.
- Ensure that Borough officials repair all outstanding items.
- Ensure that all signs are posted appropriately.
In their response, DPR officials agreed with our recommendations.
1 Hazardous conditions are sharp, protruding bolts on benches, trip hazards on paved surfaces and sidewalks, or large dangling limbs. Quality of life issues are graffiti and non-bird feces. These hazardous conditions and quality of life issues are considered by PIP as needing “Immediate Attention” and required remediation by the Borough Chief of Operations.