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July 5, 2011
The Battery Park Community Board met tonight to discuss how the newly-sodded grass field in West Thames “Tire Swing” Park should be used. BatteryPark.TV presented results of the survey that indicated the overwhelming majority of residents do not want organized soccer to be allowed on the field.
At the end of discussion, there seemed to be agreement on the following:
· The working committee previously formed would be revived to make specific rules for the grass field
· Young children doing pretty much any activity are not a problem to the grass
· Mature adults in organized groups playing soccer with cleats, like the ones that formed unapproved groups last Fall and destroyed the field, will likely not be allowed
· The field needs to be protected by the Parks Enforcement Patrol and be mowed/fertilized/rested by the Parks Conservancy
It was when the last bullet point topic was discussed that the meeting yielded a bombshell. To the astonishment of CB1 member Anthony Notaro and others, Anne Fenton and Tess Huxley of the BPCA and Parks Conservancy respectively, announced that Parks Conservancy has indeed NOT yet agreed to assume control and responsibility for the field.
Mr. Notaro said, “We all assumed that when the DOT agreed to re-sod the field, that it was because the DOT and Parks had formed an agreement and (settled the disputes that caused the grass field to be neglected forming a mud pasture)”.
Ms. Fenton replied, “We are still in negotiations”.
When pressed further for the nature of the unsettled items, an estimated date that the Parks would make a decision, or which entity would be caring for the grass once the July 22 “ready date” for the field to be opened comes around, the BPCA would not give any details. The stonewalling was consistent with the BPCA’s refusal to answer dozens of requests from BatteryPark.TV.
Mr. Notaro asked the representative of the DOT whether they would open up the grass field on July 22nd if Tess Huxley and the Parks Conservancy had still not agreed to take care of the lawn, risking a repeat of the destruction of 2010, and he replied that the grass field would not be opened to the public. Therefore, at the moment, the residents of Battery Park, who pay the highest taxes in the city, will be unable to enjoy a major portion of the park real estate in their neighborhood thanks to two feuding bureaucracies. This is in addition to the eight weeks of prime summer time use already lost due to the re-sodding that was caused by bureaucratic neglect.