Community Board 5 (CB 5) called foul on an initiative to bring a soccer field to Rosemary’s Playground in Ridgewood, claiming the proposed pitch would result in the loss of basketball courts popular with local kids.
During its monthly meeting on July 12 at Christ the King High School in Middle Village, the full CB 5 board voted 31-7 in favor of adopting its Parks Services Committee’s objection to the soccer field coming to the park located on the block bounded by Fairview and Woodward avenues as well as Madison and Woodbine streets.
According to Gary Giordano, district manager of CB 5, the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City, in cooperation with the U.S. Soccer Foundation, New York City Football Club (NYCFC), and Adidas America proposed the initiative to place the pitch at Rosemary’s Playground during the board’s Park Services Committee meeting on June 13.
The pitch, however, would not be regulation size; it would be the approximate size of a basketball court in order to introduce a younger audience to the sport. It would also be a sealcoat pitch instead of grass or turf. Sealcoat is a pavement sealer used to cover asphalt pavements and is supposed to extend the life of the asphalt. However, extreme changes in temperature are known to cause the sealcoating to crack over time.
When the Parks Services Committee Chair Steven Fiedler asked to meet with representatives of the organizations at Rosemary’s Playground to discuss a possible alternative site for the pitch, he was told that could not happen.
“What you want to do with a park is if you have something established already, you want to add to a park. You don’t want to take away and put something in,” Fiedler said. “You want to add to a park. There’s really no room in design to add to this park.”
To bolster their stance against the soccer pitch coming to Rosemary’s Playground, Giordano penned a letter to NYC Parks Department Queens Borough Commissioner Dorothy Lewandowski, outlining the board’s objection, noting the diminishing number of basketball courts throughout the community board.
“Currently there are a limited number of opportunities where basketball can be played locally outdoors, especially compared to the popularity of this activity,” Giordano wrote. “There are only two full basketball courts and two half court areas at Rosemary’s Playground, Evergreen Park hasn’t any basketball courts and Benninger Park, in Ridgewood only has one full court.”
In light of the opposition from CB 5, the Parks Department has put the project on hold.
“We are aware of the Community Board’s concerns regarding the proposed soccer pitch,” a representative from the Parks Department said. “As such, we have put the project on hold while we continue conversations with the community.”