Brooklyn Bridge Park gets regulation soccer field

Rich private schools rally to save rec bubble on Pier 5
Community Newspaper Group / Kate Briquelet

Brooklyn Bridge Park will become home turf for prep schools and sports leagues now that the city caved to pleas for a regulation-sized soccer field.

Parents and staff from St. Francis College, Packer Collegiate Institute and other learning institutions lauded park officials for including a tournament-ready field in their plans for Pier 5 — an about-face from their earlier claims that there was no room.

“This will be a great addition to the neighborhood,” said Darrin Fallick, Packer’s athletic director. “It could make traveling easier and give us an opportunity to play soccer on a top-notch field.”

By the end of the year, the pier will have a regulation field measuring 345 by 240 feet — with a smaller field beside it. When the official-sized field isn’t in use, footballers will be able to make use of three fields measuring 273 by 165 feet each.

Park officials say that the bigger field will generate revenue for the park through permits for adult leagues and special events.

“After speaking to a number of possible users of the Pier 5 fields, we have devised two different configurations,” said Regina Myer, president of the Brooklyn Bridge Park Corporation. “We hope this broadens the constituency for the fields and ensures their full usage.”

The Pier 5 development was one of the less-controversial elements of the $350-million greenspace, which is required by a 2002 agreement between the city and the state to generate its own maintenance budget instead of draining taxpayer dollars.

In December, the city approved a $19.2-million contract to build three small soccer fields — disappointing area schools that wanted a field suitable for official play.

Park advocates were also frustrated that Pier 5 wouldn’t include an indoor sports bubble because the city failed to attract any developers to build it.

Doreen Gallo, a parent at Brooklyn Friends School and president of the DUMBO Neighborhood Alliance, said that the elite institutions don’t want the Pier 5 fields only for themselves, but will treat them as a shared facility with the community.

“This is a positive step forward,” Gallo said. “For Pier 5 to become a field and not be able to support the community’s needs would be shocking.”

Reach Kate Briquelet at kbriquelet@cnglocal.com or by calling her at (718) 260-2511.