What looked like a little problem at Central Park could end up with a $120,000 repair bill.
It started with pigeons taking over the rafters at the Central Park pavilion, and their droppings have some visitors seriously disgusted.
“I’ve sat there praying, ‘Please don’t christen me,’ ” said city Councilwoman Leesa Perazzo. “You have food, you have people sitting there for programs, you have kids — and it’s not very sanitary.”
The pavilion is used regularly by a county summer camp, as well as by residents holding birthday parties and other events. Unlike other pavilions, access is only allowed to those who pay. They are thus less willing to put up with the mess.
The City Council asked the Parks Department to deal with it. They could hang a heavy fabric under the rafters, blocking the pigeons’ access and leaving them with nowhere to roost.
City workers headed out to inspect. That’s when they discovered the roof — the shingles and the wood they’re attached to — might need to be replaced. They told the council this week that it was in such bad shape, it couldn’t hold the weight of the pigeon-proof fabric, although they said the roof is no in danger of caving in.
Now the council is considering a $120,000 bill for what they thought was going to be a simple fix. Council members weren’t impressed, and a few openly questioned whether the roof truly needed to be replaced.
Councilman Vince Riggi went to the pavilion Wednesday to check it out for himself. He said the workers were right.
“It definitely needs a roof,” he said. “I can see the shingles have had it. The shingles are curling, and I see some holes where water came in and rotted the plywood.”
City workers said they had not noticed the problem until they inspected to figure out how to get rid of the pigeons. They said the decking, shingles and even some wood holding them up needed replacement.
Perazzo said the issue would not be decided soon, adding that the council doesn’t have to hurry since summer is almost over.
“It’s already almost August,” she said.
There will be plenty of time to consider the repair in next year’s budget, she said. In the meantime, the pigeons will remain.