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Highland Park

The Daily Plant : Monday, August 10, 2009

Parks Kicks Off the Opening of a New Athletic Field

Soccer in Highland Park
Daniel Avila

On August 4, Parks & Recreation Commissioner Adrian Benepe joined Council Member Erik Martin Dilan and community soccer and youth football players to celebrate the opening of a new state-of-the-art synthetic turf field and improvements to the surrounding area.

“Thanks to Council Member Dilan’s generation allocation of more than $2 million, the athletic field at Highland Park has been transformed,” said Commissioner Benepe. “Park users from both Queens and Brooklyn can play on this state-of-the-art multipurpose synthetic turf field for soccer and football. The new spray shower and performance space offers new ways to stay cool and have fun at Highland Park this summer.”

The ribbon cutting marked the completion of a brand new multi-purpose synthetic field made possible thanks to $2.25 million allocated by Council Member Dilan. Additional improvements included new bleachers, fences, gates, concrete curbs, paths, pavements and a water fountain. The existing wading pool was also reconstructed to accommodate a spray shower and performance space.

Located on the border between Queens and Brooklyn, Highland Park is home to numerous free sports clinics throughout the summer including those in soccer, football and basketball. In addition to athletic activities, nature lovers can enjoy bird-watching and walks through natural areas in the park.

Highland Park is one of eight regional parks across the city included in the Mayor’s PlaNYC initiative that were once envisioned as spectacular resources for the surrounding region, but have yet to reach their potential. Together, these sites will become regional destinations through a planning effort with the surrounding community to develop green spaces, outdoor recreational centers with opportunities for all ages, and sports facilities that reflect the shifting recreation interests of today's New Yorkers.


During the week of May 18, Bronx Operations began a soil restoration project within the critical root zone of 39 memorial oak trees at Memorial Grove in Van Cortlandt Park. These trees were planted in 1949 to honor the fallen soldiers of World War II. Although many of the plaques accompanying the trees have recently gone missing by a horrible act of vandalism, Parks is taking steps to ensure that the trees continue to memorialize the soldiers who paid the ultimate price for our freedom.

Over time, the soil underneath these trees has been compacted and depleted of organic matter. Bronx Forestry teamed up with Bronx Borough Crews to treat the soil, beginning with a process known as vertical mulching.

This was done using an Air Spade, which blew two inch holes down to a depth of 18 to 24 inches, and spaced at two feet from the center. This process alleviates soil compaction by allowing oxygen and water to infiltrate the soil down to the tree roots. The holes were then filled with compost to add organic matter to the soil. The Air Spade makes it possible to incorporate compost down to this depth without damaging the tree roots.

After the soil was aerated and enriched with compost it was drenched with an organic compost tea. This tea is brewed by steeping leaf compost in aerated water. The tea becomes a watery extract rich in soluble nutrients, beneficial bacteria, fungi, protozoa, and microbial metabolites. Applying this tea inoculates the rhizosphere of the soil and makes nutrients more available to the trees.

More compost will be added to this site in the future to support the beneficial microorganisms in the soil.

This soil restoration project will improve the health and vigor of these monumental trees. Bronx Forestry is planning on performing this type of treatment on other historic and notable trees throughout the Bronx in the future.

Written by Brewster Heatley, Bronx Borough Forester, and Sara Greller, Intern


…to Parkies born on August 11: Park Supervisor John Maher; Cement Mason Jeffrey Barbieri; Computer Service Technician Linda Calderon; Construction Project Manager Tiburtius Roberts; Community Coordinator Audrey Zeidman; and City Park Workers Kevin Deery and Deborah Feliciano.

“You create your opportunities by asking for them.”

Shakti Gawain
(1948 - )

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