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For years, I have watched the sports teams that use the BPC ballfields pander and kiss up to the local elected officials, such as Sheldon Silver. Every April on opening day for Little League, the parade of electeds are there for photo opportunities, as if they made it all happen.
However, much like the Wizard of Oz plot, the big secret is that the local elected officials do very little to promote the ballfield space and make sure that the teams of football, soccer, and baseball, and also the summer camps, can use the venue. The electeds need the votes of the thousands of parents involved, not the other way around.
After Hurricane Sandy, when the ballfields were damaged (and made to appear even worse by the BPCA parks ordering staff to tear down goalposts, etc), the 2013 Little League season would have been lost if it were not for BatteryPark.TV pointing out that the law allows for repairs, in emergency situations, to bypass the lengthy RFP process. State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver took credit for that, but none of his nitwit staff had the foggiest clue of the BPCA governing laws (just as none of them even knew about “facility fees” paid by BPC resident that are meant to fund Stuyvesant community center).
One source close to the sports teams told BP.TV, “I think that Silver and the other politicians are reactive to the community’s needs and not necessarily pro-active in anyway. It is the families of DSL and DLL that drove the creation of the ballfield back when it was just an empty lot. As we put more and more pressure on BPC to try and make the fields a permanent fixture in the community for the sake of the kids, the politicians (Silver et al) came along with the cause and helped make it happen with the State.
No question that BPCA reacts to both pressure from the Electeds as well as from the press. They clearly do not like any bad press written about them anywhere. It does feel like recently, the press articles have done more to change their closed door ways than any pressure from above. No question, BatteryPark.TV has been a big part of that.”.
Do any of the elected officials even provide funding for the sports teams? We asked people involved, and the answer seems to be “No.”. A source close to the BPCA told us, “I don’t think they get any grants from the State. They may have gotten a few in previous years, but I don’t think any more.”.
The great luxury of state-of-the-art lighted ballfields that BPC residents enjoy is made possible by efforts from local parents and the appointed members of the BPCA. The only elected official who can take any credit for their existence is the Governor of New York.
The next time you see a local elected official at a soccer or baseball game having their pictures taken, as if they make the fields possible, ask them this. “What have you done to deserve credit?”.
The BPC ballfields belong to the people, literally. Any person can walk onto the fields and use them at anytime, in between scheduled games. Use them. They are yours.