A baseball field at Juniper Valley Park in Middle Village will be undergoing a $4 million revamp to resolve flooding and structural issues, according to the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation.
The plan calls for the installation of a synthetic turf infield at Cardinal Ballfield, as well as an upgrade of the dugouts, additional benches and new paths. The Parks Dept. expects the revamp to address the constant flooding problems that stem from the uneven turf/clay and poor drainage that is currently an ongoing issue.
Parks officials presented the nearly finalized design plans at the Community Board 5 Parks Services Committee on Jan. 4, with community members and park advocates weighing in on the anticipated upgrades for the Juniper Valley Park ballfield (#7), located adjacent to 71st Street and Juniper Boulevard South.
In addition to the upgraded field, parks officials intend to revamp the ballpark dugouts; add asphalt walking paths; and install ‘39 World’s Fair Benches among other upgrades.
The parks department also plans to make room for new bleachers with guard rails, while adding sports netting, trash cans and water fountains. The plans also call for the replacement of the chain link fence, officials said.
Steven Fiedler, the CB5 Parks Services Committee Chair, said it was vital that the flooding problems be resolved. The long-time park advocate says maintaining the ballfields, especially during heavy spouts of rain, is challenging even with help from neighbors.
Fiedler said that he puts red flags on the ballfield whenever they can’t be used due to flooding, and the flag is placed far too often.
Parks officials say the replacement of a natural turf infield with synthetic turf will make flooding and pooling of water less frequent. In addition to the turf change, the department is installing underground water retention tanks that it says will drain water from the field when it rains or floods.
Fielder did ask parks officials to change the plans from having a portable pitchers mound to a permanent setup. Officials did say they would work toward creating a permanent mound for the ballfield.
The anticipated completion date for the Juniper Park Ballfield reconstruction project is March 2025, according to the parks department. Funds from Councilman Robert Holden and former Council Speaker Corey Johnson make-up the parks department total budget of $4,250,000.