Parks honchos plan to re-turf the synthetic soccer pitch at Bushwick Inlet Park in Williamsburg this spring after the agency secured city funds to fix the deteriorating playing fields, according to officials.
The work on the Kent Avenue sports grounds will take six to nine months, but the Parks Department is still awaiting final approval from the Mayor’s Office of Management and Budget to set an exact start date, according to an agency rep.
“It’ll be a complete re-carpeting of the entire field, so it’ll be a huge benefit to the teams and so hopefully it’ll be as painless as possible,” Mary Salig Husain of Parks told Community Board 1’s Parks and Waterfront Committee at a virtual meeting on Jan. 7.
The fake waterfront lawn opened atop a former industrial site between N. Ninth and N. 10th streets a decade ago and has become hub for local sports — including soccer, rugby, lacrosse, football, field hockey, and ultimate frisbee.
But the pitch between N. Ninth and N. 10th streets have become worse for wear for at least five years with local parks stewards calling the conditions “downright dangerous.”
A rep for an area soccer club praised the long-overdue repair job for the tattered fields, but questioned why the overhaul will take at least half a year and why it has to be done during the warmer and busiest months.
“I totally want it done, just with six to nine months makes me cringe,” said Christina Roushakes of the Greenpoint Williamsburg Youth Soccer League. “Right now during COVID when we have so limited spaces that we can go out and play in, why are we looking at taking this park out… Why we can’t do this in the winter time when the fields aren’t going to be used as much.”
The Parks official couldn’t give more details why the project will last the better part of a year, but said she would check with the agency’s team on the timeline.
The project will cost $1.08 million paid for by the Mayor’s Office, according to Parks press officer Anessa Hodgson, who added that the scheme will take time because it needs to go through the agency’s lengthy process for capital projects.
But, Roushakes said she’d rather have the pitch in its torn-up state for the upcoming spring, summer, and fall, than sacrifice an entire season.
“Losing it for the season, it would be preferable to continue using the field in the condition it’s in and then wait until bad weather,” she said. “Losing BIP would be a huge blow to us, that’s easily 400 children right there, I don’t know that there’s capacity at other parks to absorb that.”
Salig Husain noted they were trying to get the job done as soon as possible following pressure from locals to fix the field, but added she’ll ask the higher ups about moving the schedule.
“I’ll run it past the commissioner, but we do have funding now and we’ve been getting complaints about the field, we’ve been getting a lot of pressure from community residents to get this done as soon as possible,” the city official said.