Health concerns at athletic club, day care

April 10, 2008 2:52:18 PM PDT
Authorities have made a shocking discovery inside a local athletic club used by kids and adults. New York City's comptroller says he found mushrooms growing, exposed wiring and even blocked exit doors.

Eyewitness News reporter Jeff Rossen has more on the problem and what's being done to fix it.

Club members could hardly believe it, even as they saw the evidence. There are pictures of overgrown mold, exposed electrical outlets, blocked exits in locker rooms and ripped ceilings. It is all part of the daily life for children inside, who attend pre-k and daycare at Paerdegat Athletic Center.

"As a parent, I would not want my kids to be involved in that," one mother said. "I wouldn't want them to be in contact with none of that."

Who would? The center is a staple in Canarsie. Adults use the gym and send their kids to day school. It's owned by the city, but a sub-contractor runs it. That contractor is not doing a good job, according to city Comptroller William Thompson, whose inspectors went in and took the pictures of deplorable conditions near children's play areas.

"I am absolutely outraged that the parks department has allowed these incredibly disgusting and perilous conditions to exist," Thompson said.

He sent a letter to the parks department, demanding they make repairs. On Thursday, we watched as workers wearing protective masks hauled out garbage.

The parks department released a statement, saying, "Both the parks and health departments have sent inspectors to the Paerdegat Athletic Club. All city concessions are subject to regular inspections."

But if that's the case, how did it get so bad inside? And why did it take city inspectors to finally blow the whistle?

"There is no excuse," Thompson said.

There are no reports of children getting sick. But, the comptroller said today, they were lucky.