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October 21, 2012 By Steven E. Greer, MD
On a crisp Sunday morning in October with blue skies, residents of Tribeca and Battery Park gathered on the terrace by the ball fields to express their frustration over the delays in opening the Asphalt Green sports and community center. Unlike the “rally” a few days prior, organized by special interests threatened by the competition from Asphalt Green, which resorted to recruiting people as props, this rally drew more than 25 adults, all of whom were actual residents with genuine concerns, plus their children.
The event was organized by James Propp, Liz McCabe, and Erika Teresko, all of whom are residents of BPC who have real jobs and families. None of them have any financial conflicts of interest with Asphalt Green. In stark contrast, all of the organizers of the anti-Asphalt Green rally had strong financial motives for opposing Asphalt Green, and less than a handful lived in BPC.
Mark Costello, former leader of Downtown Little League and still influential in the use of the ball fields being on the Community Board 1 Ball fields task force, was one of the organizers of the anti-Asphalt Green rally on October 18th. He was also present at the October 21st Pro-Asphalt Green rally explaining that he is not opposed to Asphalt Green. However, on the 18th, he had a surrogate read his prepared statement strongly condemning Asphalt Green.
The three organizers of the event gave brief talks and were not harassed by the Park Enforcement Patrol (PEPs). They explained what steps can be made by the residents to help push along the process, and handed out instructional fliers, along with coffee and pastries. An online petition is also available to sign, which has more than 350 signatures so far.
On October 23rd, the BPCA board meets, and might give an update on the opening of Asphalt Green and any possible MOUs that would stifle operations. Later in the day is the joint meeting of the CB1. Both events will be very important in the final stages of the opening of Asphalt Green.