Manhattan High School Plans to Revamp Red Hook Soccer Field

By Nikhita Venugopal on March 3, 2014 2:03pm 

 Community Board 6 approved a major renovation project for Red Hook Park's third ball field Feb. 27, 2014. The project is led by Xavier High School.
Community Board 6 approved a major renovation project for Red Hook Park's third ball field Feb. 27, 2014. The project is led by Xavier High School.
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Flickr/SHARPSHOOTA.com

RED HOOK — A private school in Manhattan is planning to revamp one of Red Hook Park’s soccer fields and increase its field time nearly 75 percent by adding lights for nighttime use.

Xavier High School, located at 16th Street near Fifth Avenue in Manhattan, wants to significantly increase the amount of playing time at the Columbia and Bay streets field in Red Hook, city officials said.

The school would use the field for its after-school sports programs and weekend practices, and for the remaining hours, the field would be available for community use, school officials told Community Board 6’s land use committee on Thursday.

The space, which has a running track and bleachers, would be given a facelift with an updated track and artificial turf similar to what's used in professional sports arenas, said Xavier president Jack Raslowsky.

“It’s worn and tired,” he said.

The new lights at the field would bump up the playing time to about 5,900 hours per school year, up from about 3,400 without the lights, said Marty Maher, chief of staff for Brooklyn Parks.

The proposed renovation of Ball Field No. 3 would cost $2.5 million, according to CB6 and reports.

For several years, Xavier has been planning the reconstruction of the field, which is in “pretty lousy condition,” Maher said.

The community learned of the project in 2011 when it was discussed and approved by CB6.

“This was a win-win for the community,” CB6 member Glenn Kelly said on Thursday.

But city officials asked the school to return to the land use committee this year under a “Uniform Land Use Review Procedure” or ULURP, a standardized procedure in which applications affecting city land use are reviewed publicly.

The application will be reviewed by the full board on March 12.

Red Hook Park is the neighborhood’s largest recreation area with baseball fields, soccer fields, the track and a swimming pool bound by Halleck, Bush, Otsego and Court streets.

Both the school and the community are currently using the field, Raslowsky said.

Xavier High School would reserve three-hour time slots between 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. for three days during the week and a limited number of Saturdays per month.

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