By Gina Martinez
The College Point Sports Complex will finally be completed after years of setbacks.
The 22-acre complex is located between 130th and Ulmer streets, between 23rd and 26th avenues. Lack of funding halted the completion of the sporting complex, which includes a baseball field and a hockey rink.
Councilman Paul Vallone (D- Bayside) was able to secure the $5.5 million needed to complete the final phase of construction. He allocated $500,000, with $3 million from City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito (D-Manhattan) and $2 million from the Mayor de Blasio’s administration.
The College Point Sports Association began leasing the land in 1976. The association decided to turn the land into a sports complex in the 1990s and hired the company Enviro-Fill to repair the fields. From 1996-1997 the company ended up dumping metal, glass and other dangerous materials onto the field, covering it with a thin layer of soil. Authorities found out about the dumping and deemed the land unsafe, leading the Parks Department to reclaim control of the land.
The fields were closed from October 1997 until April 2004.
The city cleared the soil and began funding new phases of the complex, but years have passed and the complex was not completed or able to get funding for completion. Now that the funds have been allocated, the Parks Department will work with Vallone and the community to determine what amenities the final complex will include.
State Sen. Tony Avella (D-Bayside) was president of the sports association during the dumping, which he blamed on Enviro-Fill. He championed the rebuilding of the fields in two separate reconstruction projects during the last decade, but work remained to be done. He had no comment on the latest development.
“College Point has waited for this project for far too long and I’m proud to have finally secured the funding to get the ball rolling,” Vallone said. “The incredible new fields that will soon be available to the community are a shining example of what can be accomplished for our district by working hand in hand with our speaker and mayor. I look forward to continuing to work with the Parks Department to ensure the vision for this sports complex is realized as soon as possible.”
Joe Femenia, president of the College Point Civic Taxpayers Association, is thankful for the councilman’s efforts.
“I thank Council member Vallone for securing these funds and am glad that we can now move forward with the plan for the College Point Sports Complex,” he said.
Reach Gina Martinez by e-mail at gmart