Victory Field is a Homerun…and a Touchdown
Tuesday, April 10, 2007
Parks & Recreation Commissioner Adrian Benepe today joined Queens Borough President Helen Marshall, Community Development Officer Vincent Reina of the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC), City Council Member Dennis Gallagher, City Council Member Joseph Addabbo, and more than 100 W.O.R.K.S. little leaguers and Queens Falcons youth football players for the first pitch and kick-off at the $3.65 million newly renovated track and synthetic turf field at Forest Park’s Victory Field in Forest Park. At the community’s request, on Saturday, April 14, Parks & Recreation will rename Victory Field in honor of the late Frederick Schmidt, former assemblyman and judge and frequent user of Victory Field.
"The completion of the new track and multi-use field at Forest Park’s Victory Field trumpets yet one more recreational opportunity at the Victory Field Sports Complex," said Commissioner Benepe. "Just last November, we opened New York State’s first wheelchair football field and now, thanks to Borough President Marshall and a joint grant, residents can enjoy a state-of-the-art track and field. Synthetic turf fields offer numerous benefits such as improved safety, increased versatility and high durability—as well as the opportunity for teams such as the Queens Falcons and W.O.R.K.S. Little League to enjoy the field year-round."
The newly renovated Victory Field features a reconstructed track and multi-sport synthetic turf field, as well as new bleachers, a state-of-the-art drainage system and new fitness equipment. The project was funded with $3.45 million from Borough President Marshall and an additional $200,000 grant from the New York Jets, National Football League Players Association and NFL’s Grassroots program.
Parks began installing synthetic turf ballfields in 1997. There are multiple benefits to this material—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.
Prior to 1895, the year Forest Park was created, the site was owned by Lalance and Grossjean and was home to a kiln used to manufacture pots and pans. Victory Field was dedicated on December 6, 1925 in memory of the "Unknown Soldier of the World War." When the field opened, it boasted six baseball diamonds, basketball and handball courts, and a quarter-mile cinder track. Today, the Victory Field Sports Complex boasts the new track and field, as well as handball courts and the only wheelchair football field in New York State.
Over the past five years, Parks & Recreation has spent more than $157 million for Queens park improvements, adding more than 80 acres of parkland and the largest recreational facility in any City park. Currently, Parks is in the midst of a major initiative to improve parks throughout Queens, with 33 projects costing $72 million under construction, and another 88 projects costing $67 million currently in design or procurement.
About The NFL’s Grassroots Program
The NFL’s Grassroots program is a partnership between the NFL Youth Football Fund and Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC), the nation’s leading community development support organization. In addition to the Forest Park field, the Grassroots program has supported new or refurbished fields in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park, as well as in Harlem the Bronx.
Since 1998, the Grassroots program has provided more than $17 million to help community organizations build, or rebuild, 155 youth fields in more than 40 cities in NFL markets, typically where funding sources are few and far between. The program identifies local, nonprofit, neighborhood-based agencies that have an interest in building or refurbishing community football fields. Through the program, local agencies are provided with the necessary financing and technical assistance to improve the quality and safety of their fields in their neighborhoods.
About The NFL Youth Football Fund
Established in 1998 by the NFL in collaboration with the NFL Players Association, the NFL Youth Football Fund promotes positive youth development, while securing the health and future of football at the grassroots level. Through $150 million in funding by the YFF, many NFL youth programs such as NFLHS.com and Coach of the Week have been developed, providing youngsters with opportunities to learn the game of football, get physically fit and stay involved in productive after-school activities with adult mentors.
LISC combines corporate, government and philanthropic resources to help community-based organizations revitalize underserved neighborhoods. Since 1980, LISC has raised more than $7.8 billion to build or rehabilitate more than 215,000 affordable homes and develop 30 million square feet of retail, community and educational space nationwide. For more information, visit www.lisc.org.
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