November 9, 2022 By Michael Dorgan
A sports field near the Long Island City waterfront is scheduled for a $1.5 million renovation.
The artificial surface at Gantry Plaza State Park Sports Field, located between Center Boulevard and 5th Street, will be ripped up and a new high-quality artificial turf surface will be laid in its place, according to the New York State Parks Dept.
The repair work, beginning in February and ending in June, will put new soccer and softball markings on the surface.
A running track surrounding the turf field is also renewed while the drainage of the field is also improved. Repairs are also made to the field boundary wall and damaged fences.
The playing field surface is nearing the end of its useful life and needs to be replaced, according to the State Parks Dept., which oversees the playing field.
The current surface, which is about 220 feet long and 220 feet wide, has been in place for about a decade. The running track that surrounds the grass field is partially heavily worn and torn.
“Generalally spaKing, synthetic sports fields/tracks require replacementacement every ten yearsars,” said Leslie Wright, regional director of the State Parks Dept.
Wright said the remodeling will improve the quality of the athletic field, which is a key convenience for Long Island City residents who live near the water.
Gantry Plaza State Park Athletic Field is the only athletic field in the Hunters Point area south of 45th Road. The closest field is Murray Park, which is located between 11th Street and 21st Street and typically serves the Court Square area of the neighborhood.
“We akeep searchingaapprox a successful project aI know how popular the field is in the community,” Wright said.
The new upgrade will see markers on the field for the first time.
Two football pitches are laid out in an east-west direction and occupy most of the field. Currently, soccer players line the pitch with temporary disc cones or traffic cones and then use the four mobile soccer goals inside the pitch to shoot into.
There will also be a single softball field at the northwest corner of the field at Center Boulevard and New Way Road/46th Road. The softball markers will run over the northernmost soccer field markers. The corner already has a backstop.
The State Parks Dept., Wright said, decided to add soccer and softball markers because they are the two most popular sports currently played on the field. Students of the PS/IS 78Q, which is located next to the sports field, also use the area.
“Football and baseball are the two most common uses for the playing field,” Wright said.
“We are adding these markers – for the first time – in response to demonstrated public use and demand.”
In the meantime, the narrow running track around the field will also be replaced with a new two-lane blue surface. New native vines will also grow around the field.
The doors on the two small buildings at the athletic field will also be replaced because they are damaged, the State Parks Dept. said. The buildings contain public restrooms and are used by the State Parks Dept for storage purposes.
Gantry Plaza State Park Athletic Field (Photo Michael Dorgan, Queens Post)
The entrance to Gantry Plaza State Park athletic field (Photo: Michael Dorgan, Queens Post)
The softball area at Gantry Plaza State Park Sports Field (Photo by Michael Dorgan, Queens Post)