Turf battle at Cadman Park

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It’s a turf war — literally.

Local residents and schools are doing battle over the artificial turf field in the 10-acre Cadman Plaza Park.

The park is bounded by Tillary Street, Cadman Plaza West, Cadman Plaza East and Prospect Street.

“Ever since Cadman Park was renovated and they [Parks Department] made the flat field desirable there have been conflicts and issues between coaches, players and other people who were there first,” said Brooklyn Heights Association Executive Director Judy Stanton.

“The way it’s often done is coaches will say to baby sitters or others that if you don’t want your child to get hurt we suggest you go somewhere else to play,” she added.

Stanton said children wanting to have a free run in the park are often forced to go play behind the War Memorial in the park, but the ground there is bumpier with more rocks and unleashed dogs are often in that area.

This has always been an issue because the field is open to everyone and not subject to a strict schedule such as in the Prospect Park Parade Ground, said Stanton.

Stanton noted that in the Parade Ground there are designated athletic fields and the BHA would not want to see the artificial turf field turned into a designated athletic field.

“If it was a designated as an athletic field that would prevent free use of it from people that are not part of a team,” she said.

Stanton said the local schools that use the park for practices should go to other local parks where there are designated such as Lower Van Voorhies Park on Columbia Street.

Making it particularly galling to Stanton is anyone holding a birthday party in the park needs a permit.

They should change the rule so if you have a permit for a birthday party organized sports leagues should not be allowed to kick you off the field, said Stanton.

Among the local schools that use the park is the private Saint Ann’s School located near the park in Brooklyn Heights at 129 Pierrepont Street.

“We do a few practices there with middle school teams,” said Carolyn Lattimer, Saint Ann’s co-chair of physical education and athletics. “It’s a public park and you try to work together. Everybody’s pretty good about sharing, but it does get crowded sometimes.”

Parks Department spokesperson Phil Abramson said the agency’s approach is that organized special events such as birthday parties require permits.

“It was not designed as a permitted athletic field though and players should not be forcing other users off the field, especially as they have no permit,” said Abramson. “We consulted with Community Board 2 in reference to this matter.”

CB 2 District Manager Rob Perris said the department has been in contact with the community board and had representation at the recent CB 2 Parks Committee meeting.

“It appears to me personally that the best long-term solution is renovation of the area north of the War Memorial,” said Perris. “I think if we have more parts of the park that have been renovated each user group can find the space most appropriate for their type of play.”

Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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