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Queens Parents Confused By Opening - And Closing - Of Astoria Park Playground

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) - After a Queens park playground appeared to be open for a weekend and then abruptly closed, parents want to know what's going on.

CBS2's Jenna DeAngelis went to the city for answers, and spoke to eager Astoria residents.

"Please open the playground soon!" two young boys said.

It's a plea to the city Parks Department from friends Archer and Arlo, who don't like seeing the Astoria Park playground closed.

"There's a lot of stuff to climb," Arlo Pignataro said.

Arlo got a chance to climb and swing in the park when it was open on July 31.

"Kids were playing, and the sun was shining, so he got to go in the new splash pad, and swing and climb, and it was great. And then the next day I had to tell him that it wasn't actually open," said mother Amybeth Whissel.

That's because the next day, parents like Marianna Scantlebury were asked by Parks staff to leave.

"It was like a mixed message because some of the Parks Department was saying it was unsafe and that there were tests that needed to be done and there were other people saying, oh, it had something to do with the sprinkler system," Scantlebury said.

Disappointing to those who have been waiting since park improvements were announced in 2016. According to the Parks Department website, playground reconstruction started in 2019, and was completed in July.

"It seemed like it was open for good, and now I'm actually surprised to see its closed down now," said Astoria resident Sean Hartnett.

"Another reason why I was sure it was open is because there's an attached splash pad to the park that's in between the playground and the pool and that was totally open," said parent Amanda Sesumi.

"Charybdis Playground will officially open very soon. We know the community is eager for the playground to open; we appreciate their patience. The playground has not come out of construction quite yet—the site was breached but has since been secured," a Parks spokesperson said.

"There hasn't been too much communication about it and I think that's what's really frustrating for the families," Sesumi said.

"This is just so incredibly important for their mental health and physical health, and we really hope they can kind of move things along so at least they get the end of the summer and the fall in the park," Whissel said.

"I would be really happy," Arlo said.

DeAngelis was told once final inspections are complete, the playground will open. While the Parks Department wouldn't give a specific timeline, it said "very soon."

The Parks Department said it didn't have anyone available for an on-camera interview. There were some workers at the site while CBS2's crew was there Monday.

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