Community members had the chance to give their input and ideas on a planned $2.7 million reconstruction of the ball fields in Kissena Corridor Park.
“The ballfields in this section of Kissena Corridor Park have long suffered from pockmarked grass and flooding issues,” said Councilman Peter Koo. “Nevertheless, the fields are frequently used by our community due to a lack of other options.”
Koo and Speaker Corey Johnson secured a total of $3 million to fix the fields that sit on 1.5 acres along Utopia Parkway between Peck and Underhill avenues.
James Mituzas, director of Landscape Architecture for Queens NYC Parks, said the project could take over three years.
“We won’t have a shovel in the ground for another two years, and the construction process takes about 12 to 18 months,” he said. “We’ll probably miss a whole baseball season for construction.”
The project will address other issues, as well. Fencing will be repaired and drinking fountinas, security lighting and benches will be added.
Lee Ann Beauchamp, Landscape Architect at City of New York Parks & Recreation presented the issues that will be fixed.
“We will be reconstructing the ballfield, but we’ll also be reconstructing the pathways that lead to and around them,” said Lee Ann Beauchamp, a landscape architect with the Parks Department.
Jennifer Elias, who lives two blocks from the fields, said they are often used as a dog run.
“I can’t recall the last time I saw a ball game being played there,” she said.
Frank Weber, former president of St. Kevin’s Youth Guild, holds permits to use the fields and asked for natural turf to be part of the redesign.
“With the drainage issues, if you notice when you’re doing the surveys, there is an average of one to two steel manhole covers in the outfields, and if a child is running to catch a ball he or she could land on that manhole” he said.
Mituzas said that could be a possibility
“The type of funding we have right now for this project, it would be ideal for us to reconstruct the field as a natural turf ballfield,” said Mituzas. “I think that’s something we can do for this park at this time.”