Just in time for warmer weather, a $1.6 million improvement project at a waterfront Bayside park was revealed to the public this week.
Families and local leaders gathered at Little Bay Park on June 20 to cut a ribbon on the newly renovated soccer fields and park space. Kids from local sports groups officially broke in the field on the sunny afternoon with an inaugural soccer practice.
The project also added an accessible walking path, water fountain, park benches and trees to the outdoor area, as well as an improved drainage system. The grade and slope of the soccer field was raised, allowing water flow from rainfall to be redirected off the fields and into new bioswales, enabling the fields to be used during inclement weather.
“It’s all for these kids here, and for the kids in our community,” said Vito Aleo, CYO Soccer Commissioner for St. Luke’s. “When we’re here practicing, and on our Saturday and Sunday games, it’s just a pleasure to see them out there enjoying themselves, growing up and having a good time.”
The long-awaited project, which broke ground last April, was funded by the City Council and Councilman Paul Vallone, who had allocated an additional $750,000 to install pathway lighting throughout the park.
“When we see projects come to fruition like this, and see our children playing on them, it makes us really, really happy,” Vallone said.
“We know how much the community uses and treasures these fields,” City Parks Commissioner Mitchell J. Silver said. “Before construction, the fields were severely compacted and worn, a testament to how well-loved they were. We’ve completely revived them and are thrilled to open them today along with a brand-new walking path, additional trees, more benches and better drainage — improving the experience of players and spectators alike.”