City Councilman Peter Vallone Jr. (D−Astoria) helped cut the ribbon last weekend on Astoria’s first public artificial turf field, which will provide space for neighborhood children to play in community soccer and baseball leagues.
The councilman, who secured $4.2 million for the project, said the synthetic turf field at Astoria’s St. Michael’s Park will be the first of its kind in the community and one of only several in the city to include flood lights for night games. Vallone said the site, located near the Brooklyn−Queens Expressway along 30th Avenue, was formerly a grass and dirt field that required costly maintenance.
“When I was younger, I won the YMCA dirt league championship on this field and it was called the dirt league for a reason,” Vallone said. “Now we have turned a large dust bowl into one of the nicest fields in the city.”
The 120,000−square−foot field will be used by neighborhood youth leagues for soccer and baseball games and the community will also be able to use the field during specific hours, he said. The councilman said it took seven years to secure funding for the field.
Vallone said the field will be open for use year round. The site’s former grass and dirt field would often require maintenance, including sodding and mowing or cleanup after rain storms, he said.
He said the field will be one of the few in the city to include lights that allow for community night games.
Vallone said the field will be used for sporting events by neighborhood groups, such as the Pan Cyprian Association of America, St. Joseph’s Church, the Greek American Cosmos Youth League, Gottschee Soccer and FC United Soccer.
“We look forward to years of great competition in this great new facility,” said Dorothy Lewandowski, the city Parks Department Queens commissioner.
The 67−year−old park also has handball courts, fitness equipment and a playground.
Reach reporter Nathan Duke by e−mail at news@times
©2008 Community News Group
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