PUBLISHED BY MOSHOLU PRESERVATION CORPORATION

Vol. 16, No.11    May 22 - June 4, 2003



     
 

Oval Field Funding Pushed

By HEATHER HADDON

Williamsbridge Oval Park's dusty and eroded track and field could see some relief if Councilman Oliver Koppell is successful securing funding for the Norwood park. Koppell has put in a bid for roughly $2 million in capital funds for fiscal year 2004 to repair the field with turf.

"The Oval really is my top priority as far as parks," said Koppell last week.

While expressing this sentiment earlier this year, Koppell was especially moved to do something about the Oval recently. "My wife and I took a walk around the Oval, and . . . I decided something really has to be done," he said. "There were rocks in the field. This is literally dangerous to kids to who play soccer there."

While Koppell called Bronx Parks Commissioner Dorothy Lewandowski to take care of the rocks, he has gone to the Council for major improvements. But negotiations on the city's contested expense budget are a higher priority than decisions on the capital funds, and Koppell had no updates on the funding at press time. 

Park advocates are glad the Oval is on Koppell's radar screen but they believe there are more pressing needs than the field renovation. 

Though a report prepared earlier this year by the Mosholu Woodlawn South Community Coalition (MWSCC), the Fordham Bedford Housing Corporation and other community groups listed reseeding the field and renovating the track in its wish list, it is included in Phase II. The groups would prefer to see the first $2 million spent on a new playground in the southern section of the park, repair of the park's fence and three of its entrances, and additional lighting. 

"Places in the perimeter fence are dangerous," said Margaret Groarke of MWSCC. (Disclosure: Groarke is married to Norwood News editor Jordan Moss.) "Some [of the fence] has rusted away from the wall, so if someone attempted to jump over, it could fall." 

But Koppell did acknowledge other trouble spots in the Oval. "We could improve the lighting, and the stairway needs to be redone," he said.

The southern playground has also not been renovated recently, Groarke said. "It's the playground closest to the bathroom, which is important for parents with small children," she said.

As for repairing the field, some park advocates prefer grass to artificial turf. "If they added turf, they would need to fence and close off the field, and that would be inappropriate in that space," Groarke said. 

Koppell disagrees. "I think that turf is the way to go," he said. "The field is heavily 
utilized."

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