Section: MAIN,  Page: 5A

Date: Monday, November 16, 1987

New York has spent $40,000 to refurbish an outdoor stairway that has been the focus of a dispute on the safety of state workers.

The stairway, which connects the intersection of Elk and South Swan streets with Sheridan Avenue, was rebuilt and improved at a cost of about $40,000, said state Office of General Services (OGS) spokesman Tom Cooper. Work began in the summer, and the steps were reopened late last week. The repairs included rebuilding the stairway treads, replacing handrails, clearing brush and installing lights, Tubbs said.

An OGS guard also patrols the area, Tubbs said.

The stairway and another set of steps became the object of a drive by state workers at the Twin Towers at One Commerce Plaza to improve safety conditions in the parking areas in the Sheridan Hollow neighborhood. Workers said they were harassed, assaulted and mugged while walking to and from their cars.

"It's a step in the right direction," said Dan Campbell, spokesman for the Civil Service Employees Association. "But this is the type of problem that will keep cropping up until the state, county and city solve the parking problems for both private-sector and public-sector employees."

Some state employees blamed the safety problems on the city's permit parking system, which, they said, prevented them from parking in the Center Square neighborhood.

High-intensity streetlights were installed earlier over another concrete stairway leading from an OGS parking lot on Elk Street to the intersection of Sheridan Avenue and Dove Street. A pool of human blood was found on that stairway this summer, but police have not determined how it got there.