Game on! McCarren Park track and field to close next month for year-long makeover

Getting a facelift: The city will close the track and field at McCarren Park next month to begin the year-long process of laying down a new artificial-turf soccer pitch and rubber runners’ path.
Parks Department

This park is having a field day!

The city will rip up the track and field at Williamsburg’s McCarren Park next month so workers can spend the next year laying down new rubber and artificial turf for local athletes, according to the Department of Parks and Recreation.

And it’s about time, because the current fake grass inside the Lorimer Street green space between Driggs Avenue and Bayard Street is spilling its black guts out onto the surrounding track, according to one runner.

“It tends to spill out everywhere and get on the track. And if it rains, it gets really messy,” said Steven Crnic, who lives in Crown Heights and works at Grand Street’s Brooklyn Running Co. store, about a 15 minute walk from the park.

The parks department will close the artificial-turf soccer pitch and quarter-mile rubber track around it on March 19, before workers lay a new field and runners’ path using the same materials in a makeover expected to wrap next March, according to an agency spokeswoman.

But some joggers who throw on their sneakers and run ovals every week — in rain or shine, and frigid temperatures — said finding a new loop to lap is going to be a headache because the next best public track, inside a park on the distant isle of Manhattan, is also getting renovated.

“We’re actually in the process of figuring that out,” said Bedford-Stuyvesant resident Jennifer Herr, the president of the North Brooklyn Runners club. “We’re very frustrated.”

But getting new rubber to burn is worth the inconvenience of being booted from the local sprinters’ home course provided the job finishes quickly, according to Herr, who said she was surprised to learn the old track would be replaced after hearing rumors that it was merely closing to accommodate the new field’s installation.

“We are excited to see the track and field getting a face-lift, but we are also hopeful the scheduled work will be completed quicker than anticipated, so that we can get back to using the grounds,” she said.

And in the meantime, parks-department honchos are working to find a sure-footed temporary space for the soon-to-be-displaced runners, according to spokeswoman.

“We’re currently working on offerings both inside and outside McCarren Park recreation center and should have an update on that programming next week,” she said.

The agency is also installing new bleachers, planters, and adult fitness equipment around the track as part of the $4-million revamp funded by the mayor’s office, according to the spokeswoman, who said the rest of McCarren Park will still be open while the track and field are under construction.

Reach reporter Julianne Cuba at (718) 260–4577 or by e-mail at jcuba@cnglocal.com. Follow her on Twitter @julcuba.

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