After a festive ceremony Tuesday afternoon that included performances from the Hoboken High School band and chorus, Hoboken Mayor David Roberts cut the ribbon officially re-opening of the newly refurbished Sinatra Park Soccer Field.
The field will be reconstructed as a regulation-sized field using the latest-generation artificial turf. The turf resembles grass as opposed to a hard, flat surface, and is currently in use at the Stevens Institute of Technology and will be used on Hoboken High School's athletic field.
The $1.2 million project was funded through a Green Acres grant. Green Acres is a grant and loan program for acquisition and construction of parks and open space that is administered by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP).
"This field is a focal point of our community; a town center of recreation and home of our soccer program," said Roberts. "This is a vital asset to our city which has been renovated thanks to a partnership with the state. This field symbolizes the public re-use of our waterfront."
In addition to performances from the band and the chorus, there was an exhibition game by members of the Hoboken Youth Soccer League, and an appearance by MLS' MetroStars' defender Steve Jolley.
Joining Roberts at the ceremony were State Sen. Bernard Kenny, Green Acres representatives John Watson, Phil Collins and Gary Rice, Freeholder Maurice Fitzgibbons, and members of the City Council and Board of Education.
"Our waterfront is a community asset which is recognized throughout the New York metropolitan region," said Kenny. "The fact that our soccer field sits in the middle of this speaks volumes for our community."
New Jersey Department of Personnel Commissioner Ida Castro, who was representing Gov. James E. McGreevey at the ceremony, said that preserving urban parks is a priority of the McGreevey administration. "Helping to build and renovate parks such as this one strengthens our communities and makes them more attractive places for our families," said Castro. "Governor McGreevey recognizes the importance of preserving parks and open space and has made it a cornerstone of his smart growth initiative."
A long-term solution
Many young soccer players and their parents know the Sinatra Park Soccer Field has had a rough history, literally. The field is only a little over a decade old but has had to be resurfaced several times because of poor condition of the grass.
According to city officials, the problem was twofold: with over 500 area children participating in youth soccer leagues, and several adult volleyball and sports leagues, the field was overused.
The second problem was that the field had terrible drainage problems. Because the field was built on a pier and constructed without drainage devices, the water had a tendency to puddle when it rained. These puddles killed approximately half of the grass on the field, making it uneven and full of small holes and trenches. According to city officials, the new turf is durable and designed to effectively drain water into the Hudson River.