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West Thames Park Field Set to Reopen After Agencies Reach Agreement

BATTERY PARK CITY — A popular Battery Park City field will reopen to the public soon, thanks to a new agreement between previously squabbling state agencies.

The field at West Thames Park, which closed for repairs in May, will be ready for picnics and pick-up soccer games on Aug. 1, the Battery Park City Authority and State Department of Transportation said Friday.

The agencies, along with the Hudson River Park Trust, had warned earlier this summer that they would be unable to open the field, on West Street and West Thames Street, until they reached an agreement over who would maintain it.

Although the final deal is still under discussion, the agencies have decided that for now, the Battery Park City Authority's Parks Conservancy will care for the grass while the Hudson River Park Trust will provide Parks Enforcement Patrol officers to guard the park, a BPCA spokeswoman said.

"In a collaborative effort, four agencies have come together and divided responsibility for delivering, maintaining and managing the well-loved and well-used park for the enjoyment of the public over the long term," a spokesman for the State Department of Transportation said in a statement.

State DOT built the lawn as part of the larger $9.4 million West Thames Park last year, but shortly after the lawn opened last summer, the grass died and the heavily-used field turned into an unsightly mud puddle.

The culprit was a layer of clay beneath the sod, which prevented drainage, so state DOT agreed to install fresh rolls of sod this spring.

Although the ongoing maintenance dispute threatened to derail the improvements, the agencies have now come together in time to get the field open with nearly two months of summer left to go.

In the fall, Community Board 1 plans to convene a task force on the use of the lawn, to ensure that it remains in good condition.