After a hiatus on the development of a football field at a College Point Sports Complex, the project is moving forward and construction is anticipated to begin in November 2019, according to a spokesperson from the Parks Department.
The project, currently in the procurement stage, will construct a natural turf football field at an undeveloped portion of the College Point Fields located between 130th and Ulmer streets, between 23rd and 26th avenues, which includes a soccer field and hockey rink.
“Construction will include a new connection into the park from Linden Place and new amenities will include drinking fountains with bottle fillers, bleachers, pathway security lighting and additional plantings,” said the Parks Department.
The project received $5,050,000 from the City Council and $2,000,000 from the Mayor’s Office — a combined total funding of $7,050,000. Construction is expected to take 18 months, according to the Parks Department.
The football field has been long overdue, according to Richard Fabrizi, football coach and president of the Whitepoint Football and Cheer organization, which serves over 400 families teaching football to children ages 5 to 14. The organization splits their league with two fields to accommodate families and would like a football field of their own, Fabrizi told QNS last year.
Fabrizi had petitioned the city in 2016 to build a football field at the site.
When the Parks Department had approved the capital project in 2016 to construct the football field with allocated funding from Councilman Paul Vallone and Borough President Melinda Katz, Fabrizi thought the dream of having their own football field was coming to fruition.
However, last year, the project was still in the design phase with no word from the Parks Department, according to Fabrizi.
“We are losing kids by the truck load, parents are worried about Flushing Fields conditions (holes, rocks, swamp when it rains, dog manure) as well as adult softball being played as our kids are practicing and playing, then there is the handball courts that have been plagued by marijuana at all times of the day,” said Fabrizi in a statement to QNS.
Last year, Whitestone residents reached out to the Parks Department regarding the long awaited football field in the College Point complex, said Alfredo Centola, president of the We Love Whitestone Civic Association.
“Our children have been without a proper football field for too long and when finally approved, it stops with no explanation,” said Centola. “I urge our elected officials as well as any and all responsible entities to push this project through. It was approved, it was in the proper planning stages. What happened? Our communities deserves better. Whitepoint Football provides a safe and nurturing environment for children of all its surrounding communities. We demand better!”
Construction of the football field was originally slated to begin in September 2016 with a projected completion in January 2018. However, the project was delayed after the Parks Department noted the challenges of building on the site, which is a former landfill located within a NYS DEC Freshwater Wetland Zone.
“Consideration of saturated soil, soil settling, and the location in proximity to wetlands are essential for understanding any design solution,” said the Parks Department.
According to Fabrizi, the field should have been built already, or at least started, he said.
“Many other parks projects have been started after this one was on the Parks Department docket. Our kids need a football field to play on, this year we were joined by the NYPD’s pilot program the Far Rockaway Colts, and to show the field that we played on was embarrassing,” said Fabrizi.
Fabrizi is now pushing for the project to be completed.
“Please let’s finish up procurement and start building,” said Fabrizi. “Enough with the excuses and build the field.”