In an ongoing effort to enrich the lives of residents and foster a sense of community through open space recreational facilities, parks and programs, Phase I of the Garden City Department of Recreation and Parks Strategic Plan sought to answer several questions, including current conditions of existing facilities.
Community Park’s athletic fields sit atop of a former landfill. Over the years, subsurface decomposition and settling has caused irregularity in playing surfaces, particularly Fields 3 and 4, that often resulted in unacceptable playing conditions.
“These fields suffered the most and affected playability,” said Deputy Mayor Richard Silver, board of trustees liaison to the recreation and parks department.
To address these issues, Field 3, used for softball and baseball, and Field 4, a lighted 90-foot baseball field, underwent a complete overhaul.
“We are very pleased that the village has completed the first major project identified in year one of the department’s Strategic Plan,” said, Kevin Ocker, chairman of the board of cultural and recreational affairs. “The complete renovation of Fields 3 and 4 has been completed on time and under budget.”
Renovations included new irrigation, synthetic turf infields and new under drain systems. Safety fencing, backstops and dugouts were also replaced. Both fields are expected back on line in early September, allowing the sod enough time to be knitted, mature and playable. “We look forward to opening the fields for play in September,” Ocker said.
Looking ahead, plans are already in motion for the 2017-18 renovation of the soccer field at Community Park. The Strategic Plan released earlier this year contemplated a conversion of that field to artificial turf, the installation of an under drain system and permanent lights.
Subsequent to the publication of the Strategic Plan, however, representatives of a number of athletic organizations came forward to ask if the scope of the planned work could be expanded to turn the current field into a true multi-purpose facility, one which will be regulation size for multiple sports.
“To do so requires a meaningful expansion of the current facility, reorienting a service road and other work—things that were not contemplated in the original plan,” Silver said. “We welcome the input and the study that we recently commissioned will explore the feasibility to do so.”
Cameron Engineering, the design consultant and engineer, will also lead focus group meetings with representatives from local sport organizations. “This is a very open dialogue and design process,” Ocker said.
Silver added, “Of course, as the plan itself notes, our ability to accommodate changes in scope depends in large part on our ability to pay for any increase in costs. That is something that we will address once the cost is known, as we have previously done for the other costs of the Strategic Plan.”
Also in 2017-18, a new under drain system will be added in the infield of Field 1, currently used for softball. Field 2, a lighted Little League baseball field, is slated for renovation in 2018-19. Improvements include installation of a new synthetic turf infield and sod outfield, irrigation and an under drain system throughout all playing surfaces. Safety fencing and dugouts will also be replaced, as will playground apparatus and safety surfacing located next to the clubhouse.
Across town, numerous upgrades are also slated for the St. Paul’s Recreation Complex. Though the athletic fields have held up well to past renovations, an old cinder running track restricts the normal rotation and placement of fields.
The 400-meter track, which sits just below grade, has created an uneven surface condition within the field of play on several soccer fields. The entire track will be removed and replaced with topsoil and new sod in the coming months.
Improvements to Cluett Hall and the Field House, heavily used for after-school recreation activities, winter and summer camp programs and outside rentals, will include refurbished floors and walls, renovated restrooms, and new windows, exterior doors, fascia and backboards. The handicapped accessible ramp to Cluett Hall will also be replaced.
This multi-year capital investment program is designed to bring the Village’s fields and facilities to the high standards residents have a right to expect in Garden City. Visit www.gardencityny.net to read more about Phase I of the Department of Parks and Recreation Strategic Plan.