c. Paul Martinka

Play Ball! Long Meadow Ball Fields Restored

October 9, 2020

Prospect Park Alliance has reopened Long Meadow Ball Fields 4 + 5 following a $1.25 million restoration funded by New York City Council Member Brad Lander. The project is part of a larger, phased restoration of the Long Meadow Ball Fields, with Fields 2 + 3 next in the pipeline (the remaining fields, 1, 6 + 7, opened over the past several years).

“I’m so glad that the restoration of the Long Meadow Ball Fields 4 + 5 is complete in time for ball players to enjoy them this fall,” said New York City Council Member Brad Lander. “Our parks and play areas are a critical resource, especially during this pandemic, to keep our communities happy, healthy, and connected.”

“We are so grateful to Council Member Brad Lander and his constituents for supporting this project,” said Prospect Park Alliance President Sue Donoghue. “These fields are a destination for thousands of Brooklynites each season for baseball, softball, soccer and flag football. Particularly during these times, we are committed to providing welcoming and accessible green space for our community.”

The project included reseeding the turf and new clay infields, as well as improved drainage to keep the fields in good playing condition; new pathways and benches were installed, as well as dedicated clay storage bins and shaded dugouts.

Learn more about Prospect Park Alliance capital projects on our Capital Project Tracker.

c. Martin Seck

Community Helps Ready Fields For Spring

March 6, 2020

Play ball! In preparation for the spring baseball season, Prospect Park Alliance, NYC Parks and volunteers from teams and leagues who play at the Prospect Park Parade Ground joined forces to prep the fields for the new season. 

Prospect Park Alliance and NYC Parks crews worked with a group of more than 50 volunteers, including baseball players and coaches from Stuyvesant, Millennium, and Brooklyn Tech High Schools and the ultimate frisbee league DiscNY, to collect 300 bags of leaves, level infields, reinforce pitching mounds, weed and straighten baselines and clean the dugout areas. Upon delivery of clay, the players will return to finalize the preparation for the upcoming spring season.

“The important work of Prospect Park Alliance could not be achieved without the support of our community, and we appreciate our partnership with the many  leagues who consider the Parade Ground their home, as well as the borough-wide NYC Parks crews who supported this effort,” said Sue Donoghue, Prospect Park Alliance President and Park Administrator. “Through community support, Prospect Park Alliance is able to sustain the Parade Ground, funding groundskeepers as well as maintenance staff who care for these fields, which are utilized by thousands of Brooklyn youth and teams throughout the year.”  

“Keeping baseball fields ready for play is a big job,” said Eddie Albert, president of the Prospect Park Baseball Association, who helped spearhead the effort along with Millennium Coach Brian Friedman, Stuyvesant Coach John Carlesi, Parade Grounds League Director Jerry Katzke, Ruben Ramirez from the Public Schools Athletic League, and John Piccard and Adam Fisher of the Prospect Park Baseball Association. “We greatly appreciate all the volunteers but more importantly the work of Prospect Park Alliance and NYC Parks. We are excited about continuing this partnership to prepare and maintain fields that are so much a part of the history of baseball in this country, and look forward to working with the staff on a regular basis to keep the fields in peak condition.”

Learn more about how to get involved with Prospect Park Alliance.

 

Ballfields 6 + 7 Reopen After Restoration

September 22, 2017

Pictured left to right: local ball players (interspersed) join Brooklyn Parks Commissioner Marty Maher, Council Member Brad Lander, Prospect Park Alliance President Sue Donoghue, Council Member Matthieu Eugene, and Eddie Albert, President of the Prospect Park Baseball Association for the ribbon cutting on Ballfields 6 + 7.

Today, Council Member Brad Lander, Prospect Park Alliance President Sue Donoghue and Prospect Park Baseball Association President Eddie Albert took part in a much-anticipated ribbon cutting: the official opening of the newly restored ball fields 6 and 7 on the Long Meadow, undertaken by Prospect Park Alliance through funding from the City Council.

“I’m thrilled to celebrate the return of Fields 6 and 7, and I’m proud to continue to support the restoration of the ball fields, since completing Field 1 and moving on now to Fields 4 and 5,” said Council Member Brad Lander. “Prospect Park is Brooklyn’s backyard and alongside Prospect Park Alliance, I’m happy to work to restore an important community space. I look forward to watching many new little league and baseball games at the Long Meadow.”

The New York City Council and Council Member Brad Lander funded the Alliance’s $2.4 million restoration of two of the Park’s seven ball fields.  The project improved infields and added new backstops, dugouts, equipment and furnishings. The area around the ball fields also underwent beautification, with optimal game viewing in mind. In place of bleachers, the Alliance added a high berm behind the ball fields, adding a new natural feature to the Long Meadow for viewing the games and picnicking.

“We are so grateful for the support of our local elected officials so that we can improve the Park for the millions of community members who consider it Brooklyn’s Backyard,” said Sue Donoghue, Prospect Park Alliance President.

This project also included the restoration of Dog Beach, which reopened in October 2016, a beloved spot for dog swimming near the Long Meadow. The restoration is part of a larger Alliance initiative that is restoring the entire 34-acre site, including all seven fields, the entire drainage system and the nearby paths and woodlands. Ball Field 1 was completed in 2016, and Fields 4 and 5 are in the design phase.

Learn more about improvement projects in the Park on the Capital Projects Tracker.

PPA Profile: John Piccard, Prospect Park Baseball Association

April 18, 2016

John Piccard, Prospect Park Baseball Association (PPBA) board member and president of SFX Youth Sports, an all-volunteer youth sports league, grew up in Park Slope and spent countless hours playing ball in Prospect Park.

“I loved being outdoors and playing ball with friends from all over the area as a kid, and I am fortunate that I continue to enjoy these same activities today in Prospect Park,” says Piccard.

After getting involved as an assistant coach when his son, now 17, started playing baseball at age 5, Piccard gradually took on more and more responsibilities within the SFX organization as well as within the PPBA. Over the years, Piccard has become a driving force behind the expansion of youth sports programming within the Brooklyn community.

While Piccard has witnessed many changes in Prospect Park over the years, he feels the Prospect Park Alliance’s work to restore and reinvigorate the Park has had a priceless impact on the quality of youth baseball and softball opportunities in Brooklyn’s Backyard. “Conditions in the Park are vastly improved today and offer many more opportunities for everyone to enjoy its beauty,” Piccard explains.  “Baseball and softball players are no exception.”

Most notably, Piccard points to the recently renovated Long Meadow Field 1. “It used to be that if it rained on a Wednesday, we might not be able to play on it even by the following Saturday,” recalls Piccard. In addition, he’s equally excited about the upcoming improvements to Fields 6 and 7.

These improvements couldn’t come at a better time according to Piccard. Participation in the PPBA has never been higher. “I’m really excited about the large number of new players we’ve had join in recent years,” he says. “However, I’m especially pleased with the exponential growth of our girls softball program. This is just another example of our efforts to get all kids outside playing ball!”

Clearly, Piccard is optimistic about the future of baseball and softball in Prospect Park. “Kids start playing organized sports at a much younger age these days. We have a lot of five- and six-year-old teams now and those kids don’t use full-sized fields yet.”  However, through the partnership between the Alliance and PPBA, “we’re able to provide locations for even our youngest ball players to learn the basics of the game and have fun in the park. 

Learn more about baseball and softball in Prospect Park.

c. Paul Martinka

Restored Ball Field Opens for Play

The annual Prospect Park Baseball Association’s Opening Day Parade on Saturday, April 2, marked the rainy but celebratory return of baseball to Prospect Park, with hundreds of youth league players turning out for the ceremonial first pitch with Mayor Bill de Blasio, Council Member Brad Lander and other officials. It also signified the highly anticipated reopening of Long Meadow Ball Field 1, and the start of work on Fields 6 and 7, which the Prospect Park Alliance is restoring as part of a phased restoration of the ball fields and surrounding landscapes. The first and second phases of this project are funded through the Brooklyn Borough President’s office, Council Members Brad Lander and Stephen Levin, and the New York City Council Brooklyn Delegation. 

“Baseball is the quintessential Brooklyn pastime,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “I’m incredibly proud that we can celebrate the long-awaited reopening of Field 1 at Prospect Park’s Long Meadow Ball Fields as we kickoff little league season, and I commend the Prospect Park Alliance for their vision in rejuvenating this important community space.”

Field 1 restoration was centered on improving play through re-grading the field, installing a new sub-surface drainage system and laying down new turf and a new clay infield capable of supporting both baseball and softball play. In addition, the Alliance installed a new backstop and storage bin, new dugouts, and accessible paths.

The surrounding areas saw improvements as well. Pathways were re-paved, new lighting, benches and an additional drinking fountain were installed as well as new bike racks.  Plus, the nearby Bridle Path was reconstructed, and the topography was subtly changed to provide a viewing and picnicking area near the outfield.  And of course, the Alliance planted many new trees!

The renovation of Fields 6 and 7 will begin this month, with much of the same work as Field 1. The project will conclude in Fall 2017, and the fields will reopen for ball play in Spring 2018, in order to give the turf a chance to grow.

Prospect Park also benefited from City Council funding through the Participatory Budgeting NYC process, with the public voting to provide the Alliance with a new aquatic weed harvester, freeze-resistant water fountains and new barbecue grills.