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Volleybrawl in Bay Ridge

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Bay Ridge residents are afraid of volleyball punks.

The specter of a neighborhood overrun with serving and spiking teens was the deciding factor at Monday night’s split vote by the local community board, which rejected a city plan to build a lone volleyball court in Leif Ericson Park.

In its 19–16 vote, Community Board 10 said it supported a calmer, less-active open space instead of the proposed net and pitch near the corner of 67th Street and Fourth Avenue.

The vote happened because the city finally agreed to remove a pair of Telecommunications HS portable classrooms that have rested — much to the dismay of neighbors — in the park for a decade.

A minority of board members — including CB10 Chairman Dean Rasinya — lined up with Department of Parks and Recreation Brooklyn Borough Commissioner Julius Spiegel, arguing that Bay Ridge desperately needs more places where kids can congregate and play the sport most famous for bikini-clad gold medalists Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh.

“People who opposed it are making it sound like we are turning it into some kind of stadium,” said Spiegel of the nixed “adaptive reuse project,” which would have used an existing slab of concrete to house the court, and an existing chain link fence to protect it.

“The reaction of folks was NIMBY … we saw this as an opportunity to enrich and enhance recreational opportunities in the community,” he said.

Opponents of the volleyball court eked out a narrow victory, resisting the court out of concerns that it would turn into a meeting place for neighborhood teens.

“It’s a very bad idea because it’s going to turn into a hangout,” argued one Board member. “Then you can’t disperse them because it’s a public place.”

Others maintained that the parkland was ripe for restoration — not recreation.

“The community did not want those trailers to begin with — now is the time to put things back the way they were,” said Board member Bob Cassara.

Telecommunications HS Assistant Principal Patricia Rogers claimed a volleyball court across the street from her school would “cause a distraction in the classrooms,” and called for a “restoration of the park to the way it had been for 80 years.”

After shooting down the volleyball court, the Board also rejected a plan to install exercise equipment in the area, opting instead for a proposal featuring only grass, benches, bike racks, and additional lighting.

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Reader Feedback

communitymatters says:
We should keep volleyball on the beach and in the gyms, where it belongs. There are plenty of beaches in this state for volleyball to be played on. I agree that it would be a distraction to the students and to the neighborhood. I can't even believe this was a thought, especially where traffic is a problem already. It should be restored to a walkway, with benches the way it was years ago. It's nice to sit and read a book in the park atmosphere and meet your neighbors while on a stroll. Instead of only the next door neighbor. It just might bring back community. Where all will come and picnic and get to know others from other blocks in the community. We need that for our children also. It really does take a community to raise a child. Everybody in every culture love to spend time with the family out doors and have a bit to eat. I think it would be more appropriate for a park area or walkway to take in the natural surroundings with your neighbors.
May 8, 2010, 5:26 pm

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