Friday, June 19, 2009

RIOC Will Schedule a 30 Minute Interval Between Permitted Roosevelt Island Ball Field Games

By Permit Only Sign at Capobianco Field

During the June 16 RIOC Operations Committee meeting (web cast available here) , it was reported that RIOC will now schedule a 30 minute interval between the end of one permitted time period for Roosevelt Island ball fields and the beginning of the next one so that disputes like the recent one which caused the arrest of a Roosevelt Island parent might be more easily avoided. RIOC President Steve Shane also advises that:
... to try to resolve the underlying problem of our playing fields in a crowded society, we are putting more manpower resources into advance preparation of the fields so as to try to mitigate the impact of weather on scheduling and playability. There is a limit on what can be accomplished, but it seems to have worked better this past weekend, even with heavy overnight rain. Please! Everyone can do better.
The more fundamental problem is the lack of available green park space and ball fields for Roosevelt Island residents to use because of the permitting of fields to organized corporate and other off Island groups. RIOC claims that it is necessary to sell Roosevelt Island Ball Field playing time to these leagues because it needs the revenue.

A similar problem arose involving the use of newly renovated J.J. Byrne Park in Park Slope Brooklyn where the local neighborhood residents complained that the park was unavailable for their own use because it was being permitted out to organized leagues. These parents protested (not aware if anyone was arrested) and the New York City Parks Department changed their policy to allow local residents more free time usage of the park. From the Brooklyn Paper:
... Parents, sports league organizers and the Parks Department reached a tentative compromise on Tuesday night that will allow more free play on the turf once known as J.J. Byrne Park.

Under the deal, the new artificial grass playing field will be open to anyone on Friday evenings and for big chunks of time on Saturday and Sunday afternoons — instead of just the four hours per weekend in which organized sports teams would have been kept off pitch under the previous plans that caused such an uproar in these pages last week.

“I think we got something,” said Judy Schneier, a Slope mom, who was relieved that the city reduced the amount of time that permit-holding baseball and softball leagues would have exclusive use of the playing field along Fourth Avenue between Third and Fourth streets. “The Parks Department gave something, but we would have liked a little more after school time.”...
Of course, this may lead to other problems. Again, from the Brooklyn Paper:
...A number of volunteers from youth leagues also attended, hoping to preserve an adequate slice of the pie for themselves and issuing a warning to parents who expect harmony during the off-hours when uniformed squads don’t have the right of way.

“It’s the law of the jungle with un-permitted fields,” said David Nisbett, who directs the local 78th Precinct Youth Sports Council, which hopes to use the field for baseball...

At least the Parks Department listened to the local residents and allowed these residents more time to use their neighborhood parks. Will RIOC do the same?

UPDATE - 9:15 PM - RIOC Program Coordinator Donna Masly clarifies Roosevelt Island Ball Field Permitting intervals:
Just reading your blog and noticed that you noted there will be a 30 minute interval between permittees. I noted in the Operations Meeting that my scheduling program had capability of 15 minute intervals and it's more likely that I'll stick to that. This should suffice as more than enough time once field maintenance routine is caught up and permittees will be expected to honor their designated permit times.
This evening I ran into Ms. Masly at Nonno's and she told me that ball field permitting time intervals will be no less than 15 minutes and between 15-30 minutes depending on time of year and other specific circumstances.


Anonymous said...

Nice to know that RIOC addressed the permitting issue. That was really the biggest concern.