In the Riverdale Press: Soggy Soccer Grounds in Vcp

Water, water everywhere ………where could it be coming …….not from the mother of all leaky basements ………the extra water they are putting into the storm drain?

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Soccer woes

Soggy fields at the Van Cortlandt Park Parade Grounds may have contributed to the ongoing sod and grass problems that have rendered the fields unusable this kiddie soccer season, according to representatives of the New York City Parks Department, at a Jan. 27 meeting for CB 8’s Parks and Recreation Committee.

“It’s not an exact science,” said Margot Perron, president of the Van Cortlandt Park Conservancy. “We don’t always know when something’s going to finish. Stuff happens.”

And one of the things that happened in the case of the Parade Ground was extra water inundating the growing grass, potentially overwhelming it during a fragile time.

“We have a wet situation,” said Steve Des- Noyer, design supervisor for Croton projects at the Parks Dept., adding that it might have been caused by water main breaks or more rain than anticipated.

The next step, Mr. DesNoyer said, will be test pits on the land in question. If groundwater is found, he said, the Parks Department will check for chlorine to see if city water is getting in.

“If that doesn’t get corrected it would have to be cordoned off,” he said. The over-watering was not anticipated, he said, adding that extra drainage would take care of the problem. All corrective work will probably have to wait until the spring, he said, though heavy rains could postpone that date again.

Still, it’s not just the extra water keeping the fields from being ready to use. The grass knitting is different from establishing the sod as ready-touse, Mr. DesNoyer said.

“It’s not just the knitting process, which can be done in four weeks,” he said. “We like to see things going through a full growing season.”

Since the new grass was planted last year, the full growing season would extend through the end of the spring, after soccer season is already over.

Letting the field grow healthily is important, agreed Traffic and Transportation chair Tony Cassino, who attended the Parks meeting, adding that it does not make it the best option for the Parade Ground fields.

“There’s a balance of wanting to preserve a gem we have right now … and, on the other hand, [are] all the leagues and teams who want to use the fields,” Mr. Cassino said.

The leagues that will be affected are the traveling teams and girls’ teams, said Bruce Silverman, president of the Riverdale Soccer Club.

Some teams will have shortened seasons and others will play on fields borrowed from neighborhood schools like the Riverdale Country School, Mr. Silverman said, adding that more than 200 girls between first and ninth grades might still have their season cancelled if they can’t find adequate field space.

“We still have to see what our options are,” he said.

This is part of the February 4, 2010 online edition of The Riverdale Press.

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