City Parks Department receives approval to reconstruct College Point baseball field into a new soccer field

City Parks Department
Baseball Field 3 in the northern section of the College Point Fields. (Photo via Wikimedia Commons)

The Community Board 7 Parks Committee approved the city Parks Department’s revised proposal to reconstruct an underutilized College Point Fields baseball field into a junior synthetic turf soccer field during a virtual meeting held Wednesday, Jan. 18. 

College Point Fields, located at Linden Place at 23rd Avenue and 130th Street, is utilized by residents in College Point, Whitestone and Flushing, who participate in organized sports leagues and various activities. 

The city Parks Department proposes reconstructing Baseball Field 3 into a 100-by-150-foot synthetic turf soccer field. Their original plan — which was to convert Baseball Field 4 to a soccer field — was scrapped due to residents’ opposition during a community meeting held last June.

“What we heard from the community is that the baseball field is really well used and that was not wanted, but there was a smaller, little baseball field underutilized and that would be a good place to put the soccer field,” a city Parks representative said. “This field is pretty much a 50% size of a full field, so it’s appropriate for kids.”

The Parks Department’s revised plan to reconstruct Baseball Field 3 into a new soccer field includes new lawn areas for stormwater management/green infrastructure practices; new ADA-accessible bleachers; fencing; a drinking fountain with bottle filler and a doggie bowl; a spray mister; security lighting; and deciduous tree plantings.

If funding allows, the Parks Department will also make new improvements to Baseball Field 4, such as installing new fencing to prevent ATVs and dirt bikes from entering the field and a new scoreboard. 

A schematic design plan for College Point Baseball Field 3 (left) and Baseball Field 4 (right) (Courtesy of NYC Parks Department)

Kathryn Cervino, of the Coastal Preservation Network said she is thrilled to see that the Parks Department listened to the community’s concerns regarding the project and revised their proposal.  

“The push for a soccer field where Baseball Field 4 is now coming from some outside school groups, representatives and others, whereas baseball Little League within our community could not stand to lose that field. So in terms of College Pointers using the facility, this was a very important win for us, and I just want to say thank you for that,” Cervino said. 

Sheryl Kleven, chair of the directors of A Better College Point Civic Association, who participated in the first CB 7 meeting with the city Parks Department regarding College Point Fields, said the agency’s presentation on Jan. 18 showed that they took the community’s feedback and concerns into consideration. 

The revised redesign plan presented last night, allowing Field 4 to remain a baseball field and moving forward with the plan for a smaller soccer field on Field 3, appears to be a fair compromise that will work for all,” Kleven said. 

According to Barbara McHugh, she hopes that when the field is removed, the Parks Department will honor the person it is named after in memory. 

“All those fields are named in memory of Little League players who tragically passed away as children,” McHugh said. 

According to McHugh, Field 4 is named in memory of Jimmy Sandorf, the first College Point Little League player who died at the age of 15 in May 1964. At the time, all of the fields were called the Jimmy Sandorf Memorial Fields, which were dedicated to him on July 4, 1964, until the fields were turned over to the Parks Department and construction was done.

“His name was left out until Dorothy Lewandowski, Parks commissioner, approved it upon my urging,” McHugh said. “Another field, I’m unsure of the number — I’m hoping it’s not 3 — in 2005 was named in memory of my nephew, Michael Rinaldi, who died at 10 years old in 1994. It was dedicated when College Point Fields were reopened after the construction.” 

Upon approval from the Community Board 7 Parks Committee, the city Parks Department said they’re anticipating the design completion for early 2024. The agency will then work on procuring a contractor for the project, followed by construction. A ribbon-cutting ceremony will likely be held in 2025 or 2026. 

“We look forward to moving this project forward and providing expanded recreational access for the community in the future,” a Parks Department spokesperson said.