State Senator John Liu and Assemblyman Clyde Vanel gathered with community leaders at Padavan-Preller Fields on Thursday, Aug. 4, to celebrate newly-signed legislation that will expand the use of its nine fields.
The legislation allows for the Hollis-Bellaire-Queens Village Athletic Association (HBQVAA) to arrange for other sports and leagues to use the fields in addition to the previously permissible baseball and softball.
Several HBQVAA members were in attendance, including President Steven Adler, Vice President Paul Busciolano and Secretary Edwin Velez. Additionally, Executive Director of DAC Marksmen Team Sports John Zullo and Queensborough United Youth SC President Sean Peckett were present as they look forward to having their leagues use the field.
“When these fields were created decades ago, they were a tremendous asset to the community and remain so today,” Liu said. “But these fields have exclusively been limited to the use of baseball and softball. We have many sports now, including soccer, cricket and other activities that these fields are conducive for. The legislation limits the restrictions so that these beautiful fields can have more uses and become even more of a community aspect.”
“Today is a great day for the local community to show about what’s happening here,” Vanel said. “We’ve been fighting for a long time and now, with the passage of this law, children and adults alike will be able to take part in more athletic events in the community – bringing more joy and excitement to our community every single day. We’re excited that it can now be used for other sports.”
Vanel credited HBQVAA for helping to push them to get the legislation pushed through the Senate and signed by Governor Kathy Hochul.
“I’d like to thank both Senator Liu and Assemblyman Vanel for getting the bill passed for us,” Busciolano said. “It’s going to help us expand the sports that are played here. The passing of the bill helps us continue to be leaders in the community by allowing boys and girls to play multiple sports at the complex, as well as allowing us to open the complex to different community activities and events.”
In addition to owning and operating the nine Padavan-Preller fields, HBQVAA also maintains a parking lot, equipment room, batting cages, restrooms and a concession stand in the area.
“Over the past twenty years, the demographics of our communities have changed dramatically,” Community Board 13 District Manager Marc McMillan said. “While baseball will always be known and treasured as ‘America’s Pastime,’ newer immigrant groups have come and brought in sports that also require the use of grass fields. Soccer, cricket and even softball are played more and there is a demand to have spaces where these sports can be played safely. As our society struggles with physical maladies like hypertension, diabetes and so many being overweight, opening up areas where organized physical activity may take place goes a long way in addressing some of these issues.”
Liu also announced that he and several other council members, senators and assembly members have challenged Queens Borough President Donovan Richards’ office to a softball game. That game is expected to take place at 5 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 12, at one of the Padavan-Preller Fields.