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Commodore sunk! Park repairs to skip the ballfields in favor of front lawn

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The makeover of Commodore Barry Park is a single, not a home run.

Yes, a renovation is on its way — but the repairs will skip the much-used baseball fields in the busy park between Vinegar Hill and Fort Greene.

Indeed, the shoddy condition of the ballfields is why Councilwoman Letitia James (D-Fort Greene) asked for $2.3 million to allocated in the first place, she said.

But the Parks Department said much more money would be needed — $5.7 million more, in fact — so the project now only consists of laying new grass, planting flowers and trees, and adding lights and an amphitheater in the park’s eastern end along North Elliott Place between Flushing and Park avenues.

The repairs will not include work on the playground, pool, and handball and basketball courts, either.

Certainly, any baseball fan will tell you that there’s nothing wrong with a single — but area residents think the long-neglected Commodore Barry Park deserved the long ball.

“If this is the beginning of what’s to come, then it’s a good thing. But if these are the only funds, then the money should be allocated to the baseball fields,” said Ed Brown, president of the tenants association of the Ingersoll Houses, a public housing complex for which the park is a backyard.

James said that although she is disappointed that the ballfields will not be initially repaired, she is confident that the city will follow through on its multi-year, $40-million master plan to renovate every section of Commodore Barry Park.

“The idea was to do the ballfields first, but if we waited any longer to get more funds, we’d lose the $2.3 million,” she said. “My football, baseball, and handball players have a lot to say about Commodore Barry Park, but this is the best way to use the money we have.”

James also sought the ballfield repairs because Commodore Barry is the only park in the area where sports teams, schools, or other organizations can get a permit and a time slot to use the fields. The other green spaces in Fort Greene Park and Cadman Plaza Park are first-come, first-served.

“There is such inadequate space for athletic recreation [in the district], it is really pathetic,” said Irene Janner, a member of the Community Board 2 Parks and Recreation Committee.

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Reader Feedback

Justin from Clinton Hill says:
As someone who loves plants and is not so interested in playing baseball, I am thrilled with this.
Nov. 24, 2009, 10:07 am

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