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Synthetic turf coming to local park - Shore Road ballfield slated for $2 million facelift, including plastic grass

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It’s the trend in turf, and it’s sweeping across Big Apple ballfields. Now Bay Ridge is next in line for this high-tech playing surface. New synthetic turf is the cornerstone of an upcoming $2 million park facelift. The soon-to-be upgraded sporting field is located near 99th Street, between Shore Road and the Belt Parkway. Community Board 10 Parks Committee members were briefed on the pending renovation at their meeting Thursday night. Officials from the Parks and Recreation Department and landscape architectural consultant Mark Morrison outlined their plans to transform the now worn and weary ballfield into a state-of-the-art facility. The project is expected to seek bids in April 2007, with construction to begin in July 2007. “It should be open by the summer of 2008,” Parks representative Kevin Quinn told committee members. “That’s our goal,” he said. Consultant Mark Morrison explained the new layout of the park will be “multi-function.” A little league field will occupy the northern section, while a t-ball field will be marked out on the southern end. The new field could also host soccer and other sporting activities. To expand the field space, the adjacent paved handball area will shrink from six courts to three. While the artificial grass is the big-ticket item, other improvements will include a new fence, dugouts and backstops. New bleachers, storage, drinking fountains and landscaping complete this extreme makeover. Existing trees will be protected. Those non-sporting types aren’t ignored in these plans: new park benches are being installed along the park’s upper pathway. Pedestrians can pause to enjoy spectacular views of the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge and New York Bay. While the CB 10 Parks Committee was not required to vote on the project, the brief was met with an enthusiastic response. “It’s wonderful!” exclaimed chairperson Eleanor Petty. Fellow committee member Susan Pulaski agreed. “It’s very attractive, and they evaluated the situation very well,” Pulaski said. The new playing surface and drainage system will require about 12 inches of topsoil to be excavated. That earth will be moved nearby to provide a seating mound for an adjacent field. New York City installed its first synthetic turf ballfield in 1997. Since then their popularity has exploded. Sixty-one fake fields have gone in since 2002, and almost two dozen more are in the works. Critics say the replacement of natural grass contributes to the so-called “urban heat island effect.” But proponents argue synthetic turf is in fact a win for the environment. The crumb base is made from recycled tires, and the artificial surface eliminates the need for pesticides, fertilizers and gas-guzzling mowing, Durability is another major draw card. “They play on them, and they play on them, and they just get to be mud,” is consultant Mark Morrison’s take on traditional grass. He calls synthetic turf “resilient.” “You can play on it the day after it rains, or even when it’s raining!” Morrison said. While the initial capital outlay is high, the city claims that over time these low-maintenance playing surfaces can actually save taxpayers money.

Posted 7:05 pm, October 10, 2011
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