The DNAinfo archives brought to you by WNYC.
Read the press release here.

Locals Want Ft. Greene Park's 'Dust Bowl' Covered with Grass and Astro Turf

By Janet Upadhye | May 14, 2013 3:21pm
 A recent petition by a group called "Fort Greener Park" asks city and state officials to plant grass or place astro turf over Fort Greene Park's "Dust Bowl."
Fort Greener Park
View Full Caption

FORT GREENE — Fort Greene locals are tired of waiting for the dust to settle.

After four years of letter writing, flyering and organizing, neighbors have started a petition asking park officials and local politicians for help in removing a large dirt field in Fort Greene Park known to many as the "Dust Bowl."

"Why can't they plant grass so everyone can enjoy the park?" Members of a group called Fort Greener Park demand in a Change.org petition. "Let's support a real and permanent soccer field (astro turf)."

The battle began in 2009, when Abby Weissman of The South Oxford Street Block Association wrote a letter to The Local complaining about soccer players ruining the grass in the park.

He claimed that the Dust Bowl was caused by the "overuse of the lawn by a small group of sports enthusiasts who claim the field for their own every weekend and are ruining it for everyone else."

"Besides being an eyesore and a muddy mess, one cannot even sit near the field on dry days because the blowing dirt and dust gets into your eyes, nose and mouth," he wrote.

But in the last four years, the tone has changed for many protestors who formerly blamed the soccer players.

"Let's all put our personal agendas aside and make the park great for everyone," the Fort Greener petition stated. "It's not just about kids, dogs or soccer — it's all of them."

Petitioners are asking for grass or astro turf to cover the dust so that soccer players can continue to have pickup games on the field while others enjoy a dust-free park. 

"I live in the area and regularly go to this park on the weekends, so I know how much of an eye sore it is in the dust hole," wrote local Ana Munoz, who supports the petition. "After Sandy it got even worse as we lost some of the trees near it as well, it would be nice to give this little park a little love. It needs it."

The Department of Parks and Recreation did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The Fort Greener petition currently has 54 supporters.