Marine Park Civic disaster

Civic veep leaves fate of community center in the lurch

Brooklyn Daily
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The controversial Marine Park Field House is fracturing the group that pushed for its creation — and has forced the daughter of the man whose name will be on Brooklyn’s most expensive green latrine to leave the civic, members said last week.

Maria De Lisandro, the vice president of the Marine Park Civic Association and daughter of civic founder Carmine Carro — who the field house will be named after whenever it finally opens — confirmed that she and her husband Charles, another key officer, left her father’s group because board member John Manzola publicly attacked the Parks Department at a group meeting for dragging its heels on the project.

“He made the job too stressful, he made it impossible to do anything,” said De Lisandro, adding that she had never seen anything close to resembling Manzola’s hyper-vocal outbursts in the 28 years she has been on the board. “I’ve never seen anybody act like that.”

But some say Manzola’s tirade was appropriate: the field house has become Southern Brooklyn’s biggest boondoggle. The price of the community center, which is essentially one meeting room, two bathrooms, and closets for storage, has ballooned from $6.5 to $16 million and has suffered countless delays.

The project is currently costing taxpayers $5,000 a square foot — more than the 104-story Freedom Tower in Manhattan, which is $1,456 per square foot.

The Freedom Tower is expected to be completed next year, beating the Marine Park Field House by several months. Both projects began in earnest in 2008.

Manzola was voted out as a member of the Marine Park Civic Association’s board of directors last month — following the tirade in which he lambasted the agency’s handling of the construction.

The senior says the real reason for his ouster was his long-standing feud with group president Greg Barusso, but De Lisandro said she was the one who pushed for his departure.

“If he wasn’t removed, I had my resignation letter ready,” she said. “The stress was too much.”

Manzola said he will continue to attend the civic’s open meetings — prompting De Lisandro to ultimately quit the group. Nominations for her position will be held at the civic’s June 19 meeting, which is traditionally a social banquet enjoyed by members and their families before breaking for the summer.

Manzola says De Lisandro’s anger is misplaced.

“She should have used that same energy to attack the people who took care of this project,” he said,

Manzola, who has been a vocal critic of the project, added that De Lisandro could also be acting out of shame.

“I think she’s embarrassed that there’s so much to do about this building named after her father,” he said, adding that Carmine Carro was a respected community activist and a good friend. “If he was alive today, he’d be up there yelling like I am.”

Reach reporter Colin MIxson at or by calling (718) 260-4514.
Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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