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Opinion January 10, 2013 By Steven E. Greer, MD
More than a thousand Battery Park and Tribeca kids might miss out this year. The Little League season seems likely to be cancelled due to damage to the ballfields on Murray Street north of Goldman Sachs. The BPCA announced that the damage to the fields was so extensive, that the turf will have to be replaced, and that lengthy bureacratic RFP’s will be issued to determine the contractor. All of this will take many months. Why RFP’s are being issued is unclear, since they are not required in times of crisis, such as Hurricane Sandy damage repair.
Are the ballfields really damaged so badly that they cannot be used right now as a temporary solution? Was there really a toxic sludge from the flood waters that makes them unusable? The answers to those questions are “No and No.” The ballfields are perfectly capable right now of serving as the venue for Little league.
The BPCA has not cleaned up the mess after the flood, has allowed soccer goals to stay turned over, has torn up turf after inspection and left it is disarray, etc. A cynic would not be inappropriate to speculate that the BPCA is intentionally hyping the appearance of damage to reduce criticism over the inability to open the fields in time for Little League. After all, the Misinformation Team of the BPCA, led my Anne Fenton and Matthew Monahan, misled the community for more than a year about the reasons for the delays in opening Asphalt Green. This is their style.
The truth is that some unknown mysterious political infighting, or financial dispute with contractors, is the reason that the BPCA is not promptly repairing the turf ballfields. There is no reason that the fields cannot serve as temporary surfaces until the RFP’s are sorted out. Kids in Harlem and the Bronx play on far less safer surfaces.
Bob Townley and his Little League allies have been pressuring the BPCA with their draft Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that dictates their usage of the fields. They have tried to restrict Asphalt Green from using the fields for summer camps. Perhaps the BPCA is now fighting back and using the storm damage as an excuse and leverage in the negotiations. Who knows the truth, but it is clear that Bob Townley and Jeff Galloway’s MOU is not helpful, and might backfire on them.
Meanwhile, for the third straight year, the thousands of kids in Downtown Manhattan will be the victims of incompetent bureaucrats like Gayle Horwitz, Anne Fenton, and Bob Townley. New York Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver has now spoken and expressed is his displeasure (Which is ironic since Bob Townley has been his soldier for decades benefiting from grants).
Enough is enough. Asphalt Green and the ballfields are now a complete joke and textbook example of city government buffoonery. The ballfields need to be cleaned up and prepped for temporary use right away, or else the unelected officials of the BPCA need to be investigated by the Attorney General and Inspector General of New York.
My name is Steven Greer, and I have now weighed in. Please post your comments.