To the editors of "The City":
I have been concerned about the overuse of the park for over seven years. The main field’s large dirt patch creates dust storms when dry, and is a mud pit when wet. The author Sarah Stodola suggests that reseeding is a solution. She should have known that a large portion of that main field has previously been fenced off and reseeded at least twice in the past eight years. In 2005 it was fenced for nine months. Unfortunately within days of the fences’ removal the new grass had been destroyed due to overuse. (see accompanying images above).
Now the problem is much worse. The players are moving to adjacent spots. Those new areas are fast becoming a muddy/dust bowl as well. If no action is taken soon most of the usable flat areas of the park will be devoid of any grass. The soccer players are only half the problem; there are the organized football teams, and Brooklyn Technical School, who use the park as their own private sports facility.
There are at least three sports-specific fields within a half mile of Fort Greene Park: Commodore Barry Park at Park and Ashland, Brooklyn Technical High School's Charles B. Wang Athletic Field at Fulton and Vanderbilt, and the South Oxford Park at South Oxford and Atlantic. All of these three locations appear to be underutilized.
Reseeding is not the answer and will never work. IMHO we have two options: either enforce the prohibition of organized sports from that field and divide the space up by installing a hill, trees, rocks and fences; or install astroturf like the city has done on other athletic fields where natural grass cannot be maintained.
I support the great work being done by the youth sports leagues in the area and wish they continue their efforts. I also support the safe use of our historic community park for everyone’s peaceful and safe enjoyment. Olmsted and Vaux, the celebrated designers of our park (and Prospect and Central Park), never intended the area to be used as an athletic field.
Why should 20 or so people be able to ruin the enjoyment of a public park for hundreds of people? Just because it is a public “park” does not automatically make it an athletic field.
President of The South Oxford Street Block Association, and volunteer member of the Fort Greene Association.