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Ridge kids get new softball field at McKinley Park

Ribbon cutting: Councilman-elect Justin Brannan, at far left, joined borough parks commissioner Martin Maher, at center, and his former boss, Councilman Vincent Gentile (D—Bay Ridge), right of Maher, to cut the ribbon on the new softball field at McKinley Park on Nov. 16.
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It’s a home run for McKinley Park!

Local pols and city officials unveiled a brand new softball field at McKinley Park in Bay Ridge last week, which will serve as the new home for the Little Leaguers of St. Anselm’s Youth Softball Program.

The field was a long time coming, according to the president of the Saint Anselm Youth Activities Organization, which led the eight-year push to secure funding to turn the old lot into a new field.

“What used to be there was basically old, beat-up tar,” said Jim Condon. “It was a hard surface, it wasn’t a field like it is now.”

The St. Anselm softball-playing student-athletes previously used the baseball fields that line Shore Road and are often occupied by other school and local groups, according to the chair of Community Board 10’s parks committee. But now, the students will play on their very own, brand-new, artificial-turf field, complete with amenities such as two dugouts, grandstands, drinking fountains, misting stations, landscaping, and storage space.

A running path also encircles the new field, and removable bases ensure it will be multi-use, according to CB10 parks committee chairwoman June Johnson, who celebrated at the Nov. 16 grand opening.

“I think it’s spectacular,” she said. “I was so excited when I was there.”

Johnson said that any team can play on the field as long as they have a permit issued by the parks department.

The $2.5-million project was funded by Councilman Vincent Gentile (D–Bay Ridge) and former borough president Marty Markowitz during the 2012-2013 fiscal year, according to Gentile’s office. Gentile allocated $1.5 million to the project, and Markowitz allocated $1 million.

Reach reporter Julianne McShane at (718) 260–2523 or by e-mail at jmcshane@cnglocal.com. Follow her on Twitter @juliannemcshane.
Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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