Gerritsen Beach ballfields get needed cleanup after residents speak out

The Gerritsen Beach ballfields saw major landscaping after Brooklyn Paper exposed the area’s unkempt conditions.
Photo by John Mooney

The Gerritsen Beach ballfields suddenly underwent landscaping at the end of August after Brooklyn Paper reported on residents’ outrage over the unkempt fields. 

“Late last week an army of [Parks Department] workers and five tractors showed up to cut the long overdue grass in the ballfields and to begin work on the fence line and dugout cleanup,” wrote Dave Reynolds, treasurer for the Gerritsen Beach Property Owners Association, in a newsletter to the residents of Gerritsen Beach on Aug. 31. 

For almost a year, residents of the southern Brooklyn neighborhood have asked the city to manage their three ballfields on Gerritsen Avenue — that have long sported tall grass, weeds cropping up in the sand of the baseball diamonds, and vines overtaking the fences and dugouts— similar to the sports fields in neighboring Marine Park. 

“We always feel like we are the stepchild,” said John Mooney, president of the Gerritsen Beach Property Owners Association. “Why take care of one park and not take care of the other?” 

And on Aug. 27, two days after Brooklyn Paper published a story about the park’s conditions, city landscapers were seen mowing the grass at the three unruly ballfields on Gerritsen Avenue and beginning to get to work on the thick vines wrapping the fences— much to the surprise of the neighborhood’s residents. 

“A LOT of work got done including tree removal from the last major storm. and it looks so much better! there is still some work to do but certainly an improvement over where we were a few weeks ago,” Reynolds wrote. 

Before and after the ballfield cleanup.(L) Photo by Jessica Parks, (R) Photo by John Mooney

Members of the Gerritsen Beach Property Owners Association, who have long been advocating for the field’s cleanup, said they will continue to work with the Parks Department to obtain a more-regular landscaping of the sports fields to prevent them from again falling into a state of neglect. 

“We discussed ongoing initiatives and perhaps better-scheduled maintenance as well as some preventive measures to suppress some of the weed growth,” Reynolds wrote. 

One of the ideas floated between the community group and the city’s green space honchos to deter weed growth is laying down mulch, which community volunteers are asked to disperse if Parks agrees to transport it to the designated work areas. 

“Mulch was one of those options. With all of the recent storms there is an abundance of Mulch in the park’s inventory,” Reynolds said. “With a partnered effort I believe we can obtain community involvement to disburse mulch accordingly if parks can commit to dropping it off in specific work areas.”

A spokesman for the city’s Parks Department, which has undergone severe budget cuts due to the coronavirus pandemic, said their employees are working hard to regularly maintain the borough’s green spaces. 

“We are working tirelessly throughout Brooklyn to provide routine maintenance to keep our parks beautiful. We are pleased that the ballfields at Gerritsen Beach recently received some landscape improvements including mowing the lawn, weed removal, and trimming the shrubs around the guard rail and fences,” said Anessa Hodgson. “We will continue to make an effort to upkeep our green spaces, and ask parkgoers to show their parks some love by taking out what they bring in.”