Parks, Diaz christaen Watson-Gleason’s new field

The new $2.03 million synthetic turf field will provide a safe, space for children to play soccer, softball, and many other kinds of sports. (L-r) Police Atheletic League member, Kenny Bonaparte; Community Board 9 district manager Francisco Gonzalez; Councilwoman Annabel Palma; Parks commissioner Adrian Benepe; Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.; Assemblyman Peter Rivera; Assemblyman Marcos Crespo; Bronx Parks commissioner Hector Aponte; Assistant Parks commissioner Sue Donoghue; Assistant Parks Commissioner Edward Lewis; and Ajahan Stepney of the Sounddale program at the ribbon cutting. Photo by Victor Chu

No more scraping arms and legs against asphalt in the Watson Gleason Playground’s ball field while playing sports!

The Parks Department recently finished a $2.03 million renovation of the athletic field at the playground at Rosedale Avenue that includes a nylon synthetic turf field that can be used for soccer, baseball, softball, and many other sports.

Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr., Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe, Assemblyman Peter Rivera, Assemblyman Marcos Crespo, Councilwoman Annabel Palma, and Community Board 9 district manager Francisco Gonzalez were all on hand for a ribbon cutting ceremony christening the new field on Tuesday, July 22.

“Thanks to $2 million allocated by Assemblyman Peter Rivera and Mayor Bloomberg, children and adults can participate in a wider range of activities at Watson Gleason Playground,” Benepe said. “Replacing a degraded asphalt yard with a synthetic turf field, and adding benches and a water fountain will encourage the community to stay fit this summer by providing them better facilities to meet their interests.”

Sports enthusiasts can now enjoy cricket, field hockey, soccer and more on the new field. While those sports and others were played before, now there is a field just like in the pros, said Benepe. The project is part of Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s Asphalt to Turf Initiative.

“This park has special significance for me because I grew up in the area,” Diaz said in his speech. “During my childhood and teenage years I used to play basketball and softball here. My arms and elbows are scraped from playing the third base line.”

Diaz said that he taught his two children to ride their bikes in the Watson Gleason Park, on the asphalt where the new field is, and he is pleased that kids are going to have a safe field to play.

Bloomberg provided $1.6 million in funding for the new field, and Rivera provided an additional $500,000 state grant. The field is made of material that does not require fertilizer or pesticides that can pollute the air, making it eco-friendly.

Rivera, recalling a famous line from the movie Field of Dreams, had some inspiring words for the children who would come to use the field.

“If you build a ball field, you are going to use it,” Rivera told the children present. “We built it so you can use it and wear it thin; you can play 100 different kinds of games here.”

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