Nov. 9 2022 By Michael Dorgan
A sports field near the Long Island City waterfront is about to get a $1.5 million makeover.
The artificial surface at the Gantry Plaza State Park Sports Field, located between Center Boulevard and 5th Street, will be ripped up and a new high-quality synthetic turf surface will go down in its place, according to the New York State Parks Dept.
The repair work, which will start in February and finish in June, will see new soccer and softball marking go down on the surface.
A running track that surrounds the turf field will also be resurfaced while the field’s drainage will be upgraded too. Repairs will also be made to the field’s perimeter wall and to damaged fencing.
The surface at the athletic field is coming to the end of its useful life and needs to be replaced, according to the State Parks Dept., which oversees the sports field.
The current surface, which is about 220 feet long and 220 feet wide, has been in place for around a decade. The running track that surrounds the turf field is badly worn and torn in some areas.
“Generally speaking, synthetic sports fields/tracks require replacement every ten years,” said Leslie Wright, regional director of the State Parks Dept.
Wright said the revamp will improve the quality of the sports field, which is an important amenity to Long Island City residents living near the waterfront.
Gantry Plaza State Park Sports Field is the only athletic field in the Hunters Point area south of 45th Road. The nearest field is Murray Park, located between 11th Street and 21st Street, which typically serves the Court Square section of the neighborhood.
“We are looking forward to a successful project and know how beloved the field is to the community,” Wright said.
The new upgrade will see markings on the field for the first time.
Two soccer pitches will be lined out in an east-west direction and will take up most of the field. Soccer players currently line the field using temporary disc cones or traffic cones and then use the four mobile soccer goals inside the field to shoot into.
There will also be a single softball field marked out at the northwestern corner of the field at Center Boulevard and New Way Road/46th Road. The softball markings will run over the northernmost soccer pitch markings. The corner already has a backstop.
The State Parks Dept., Wright said, decided to put down soccer and softball markings since they are the two most popular sports currently being played on the field. Students at PS/IS 78Q, which is located next to the sports field, also use the space.
“Soccer and baseball are the two most overwhelmingly popular uses for the sports field,” Wright said.
“We are adding those markings – for the first time — in response to demonstrated public use and demand.”
Meanwhile, the narrow running track around the perimeter of the field will also be replaced with a new blue-colored surface consisting of two lanes. New native vines will also go up around the field.
The doors on the two small buildings at the sports field will be replaced too since they are damaged, the State Parks Dept. said. The buildings contain public toilets and are used for storage purposes by the State Parks Dept.
Gantry Plaza State Park Sports Field (Photo Michael Dorgan, Queens Post)
The entrance to Gantry Plaza State Park Sports Field (Photo: Michael Dorgan, Queens Post)
The softball area at Gantry Plaza State Park Sports Field (Photo by Michael Dorgan, Queens Post)