NYC Resources311Office of the Mayor

Harlem River Park

Parks & Recreation Cuts Ribbon On Harlem River Ballfields

IMMEDIATE
Thursday, July 26, 2007
No. 99
http://www.nyc.gov/parks

Commissioner Adrian Benepe, members of Community Board 11, City and State representatives, and young athletes from local PeeWee football and baseball teams today cut the ribbon on $3.5 million in reconstruction of the ballfields at Harlem River Park. The project was funded with mitigation funds provided by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority in connection with the Second Avenue subway construction project. The New York Jets and the NFL Youth Football fund have also pledged $200,000 through the Local Initiatives Support Corporation.

"Thanks to mitigation funding from the MTA and a generous contribution from the National Football League through the Local Initiative Support Corporation, athletes young and old of East Harlem now have a state-of-the-art field for year-round competition," said Commissioner Benepe. "New turf, benches, bleachers, and plantings have transformed this historic park into a popular destination for touch and tackle football, soccer, baseball, and softball --with night lighting to provide even more hours of recreation. Today’s ribbon cutting on the Harlem River Ballfields is yet another example of how we are constantly improving athletic facilities across the city so that young people and adults can stay fit and avoid obesity and related diseases."

The project replaced the existing fields with two synthetic turf baseball diamonds that have a football overlay. The new fields are striped to allow for baseball, football, and soccer, making them flexible enough for a wide variety of park users. Additional work includes new fencing and gates, as well as the replacement of old concrete bleachers with steel bleachers. The redesign also includes new landscaping, night lighting, and pavement to improve the overall aesthetics of the area.

Parks & Recreation has installed 63 synthetic turf fields since 2002 and 16 synthetic turf fields are currently in design or construction. This figure is driven by a major initiative to convert previously underused asphalt sites into active recreation space, while upgrading out-of-date properties into community assets.

Parks began installing synthetic turf ballfields in 1997. Benefits of this material include improved safety, increased versatility, and high durability to support more field use. The fields do not require weekly mowing, watering, fertilizing, seeding, or other time-intensive maintenance tasks. Additionally, they are useable year-round, and wear out much more slowly—these differences add up to savings of more than $25,000 per field each year.

Harlem River Park is made up of a series of smaller parks and ballfields that cluster around the Third Avenue Bridge on 130th Street and Lexington Avenue. The nine-acre park was acquired by New York City in 1867 and has served residents of Upper Manhattan since that time.

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