April 18, 2018 By Tara Law
The fields used by the Elmjack Little League, located at the foot of the Rikers Island Bridge, will undergo a major revamp that will consist of the installation of an all-weather playing dome, field leveling and other improvements.
The $1.8 million overhaul will be rolled out over the next three years to avoid disrupting the baseball season, League president Robert Isea said at a Community Board 1 meeting on Tuesday.
The reconfiguration of the fields is a major component of the plans as it will allow soccer, flag football and other sports to be played there.
A new tennis-style dome will also be installed, which will allow sports to be played year-round and in all weather conditions. The dome is expected to cost between $400,000 to $600,000, Isea said.
Poor conditions at the fields, which are owned by the Port Authority, has led to a decline in the number of children who have joined the league, Isea said. The fields are uneven and flood after rainstorms.
As the fields were constructed on top of a landfill, the ground also sinks in heavy rain, Isea said.
“It’s been a constant struggle trying to keep the land even and the playing fields safe for the kids,” said Isea. “Things are falling apart.”
The ongoing renovations at the fields are intended to improve these conditions.
Skanska Walsh, the builder handling the project, has already installed new bathrooms, fences and backstops at the fields, according to Skanska Walsh spokesperson Chris Villari.
The company is currently using a portion of the fields Elmjack leases from the Port Authority at it renovates Terminal B at LaGuardia Airport.
Skanska Walsh intends to return that land to Elmjack in 18 months, Villari said, in better condition.