Jan. 25, 2022 By Max Parrott
It’s “play ball” at the Helen Marshall Playground baseball field.
Community Board 3 conditionally approved the Parks Department’s plan last Thursday to transform the grass baseball diamond in East Elmhurst into a turf field that can be used for multiple sports.
The Parks Department has proposed a $7.1 million project to renovate the field—located on 100th Street between 24th and 25th avenues—and expand its use from solely baseball to accommodate soccer and possibly flag football as well.
The project was prompted in part by the Parks Department’s need to fix the field’s poor drainage, which creates puddles, and to repair the park’s rundown bleachers and dugout area.
As part of the renovation, the Parks Department is planning to reconstruct the handball court area—which will involve maintaining one of the two courts for handball while transforming the other into an adult fitness area containing workout equipment. The plan also calls for a misting pole to cool residents off in the summer months.
The community board unanimously approved a resolution in support of the renovation project, with a list of conditions that include rat abatement during and after construction as well as striping for a flag football field.
At the December meeting when the Parks Department initially presented its plans to the board, members raised questions about the decision to choose synthetic turf instead of new grass. A Parks Department representative explained that the synthetic turf would save on the cost of upkeep, and that it would help it to install permanent striping for a soccer pitch in the outfield, over which it could potentially overlay flag football lines as well.
The board ultimately accepted the plan.
The board’s other conditions for approval included signage that prohibits dogs from walking on the field or drinking from the water fountains. The board also asked to be updated when the Parks Department files permits for construction, and that it notifies the community as soon as it knows how long the project will take and when work is expected to begin.
With the greenlight from the community board, Parks will now send a finalized project design to the Department of Design and Construction for approval.
The park was previously called the East Elmhurst Playground. It was renamed after Helen Marshall in 2020 as part of the Parks Department’s initiative to expand the representation of African Americans honored in parks.
Marshall was the Queens Borough President between 2002 and 2013. She died in 2017.