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By Julianne Cuba
If you lock it, they won’t come.
The Parks Department must re-open Lindower Park’s baseball fields, which it has kept under lock and key for months, locals are demanding. The agency finished a taxpayer-funded renovation of the Mill Basin ball field over the summer and then closed it to the public, stating that people could only use it for baseball — and only if they first obtained a permit from the city. But closing off the formerly public space is a disservice to locals, said one neighbor who wants the field returned to the people.
“I thought it was for the community — you can’t play football with your kids, you can’t even play baseball,” said Igor Monastyrsky, who lives nearby. “Before they fixed it, it was open, you could come in, you could play football, baseball. I’m sure they spent a lot of money, they did the whole field, but what’s the point if it’s constantly locked? I don’t understand. It’s a waste of money.”
Locals abused the green space, riding four-wheelers on the outfield and letting their dogs poop everywhere, so the city slapped a pad lock on the park after it finished a $1.7-million renovation in June, according to a spokeswoman from the Parks Department.
“Restricted use of the baseball field is directly related to prior misuse and a desire to preserve this coveted public amenity for long-term use,” she said. “When reopened in June, Parks, to protect the new baseball field and manage against misuse, restricted the field from non-permitted usage. Historically, this baseball field was being misused. This field was open and used by permit holders for the summer and fall baseball seasons — approximately five months total.”
Most city baseball fields are open to the public without a permit, and only require written permission for leagues to use, according to information from the Parks Department.
“If you are a member of an organized league, you must request a field or court for any formal use,” the agency’s website states. “Otherwise, our fields and courts are available to the public for informal use (pickup games).”
But the stricter, permit-only rules at Lindower Park haven’t stopped scofflaws from using the greenspace — someone cut a hole in the fence and people have been climbing through to get in, according to two Parks Department workers who declined to give their names because they don’t have the agency’s permission to speak to the press.
Rather than closing off the space entirely, the city ought to do its job and maintain the field, a green-space crusader said.
Right now we have a policy in place that prohibits the vast number of the public from using these resources that are desperately needed,” said Geoffrey Croft of New York City Park Advocates. “We don’t lock them up, that’s ridiculous, we provide adequate resources to make sure they are not misused. It’s pretty simple.”
Reach reporter Julianne Cuba at (718) 260–4577 or by e-mail at email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter @julcuba.
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Delay of game! Locals demand city re-open permit-only ball field to the public : Brooklyn Daily