STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — Congressman Max Rose and Borough President James Oddo announced on Friday that a resolution has been reached to allow soccer leagues at Miller Field to begin on time after a lack of maintenance at the park left the season in doubt.
“We’re excited to announce the Staten Island Soccer League season will start on time,” Rose and Oddo said in a joint statement.
“This has been a long, hard process — but, frankly, we weren’t going to stop until this was resolved,” Rose and Oddo said.
The resolution comes after Bill Smith, president of the Staten Island Soccer League, was told by the National Parks Service that the partial government shutdown left the agency unable to hire enough staff to maintain the park, which meant the park’s opening could have been delayed until Memorial day.
The spring season for the Staten Island Soccer League begins on April 20.
Faced with the possibility of not having enough space to accommodate 6,000 players and 400 teams in the league, Smith considered canceling the season altogether.
The resolution was reached after funding from the Borough President’s Office was guaranteed, along with the utilization of the Borough President’s programming permit with the National Park Service.
In addition, the National Park Service will shift staff from other areas of the park to have a crew onsite to mow the fields, and the borough president and congressman will serve as the hub to coordinate the leagues’ volunteer efforts.
“We’re grateful for all the hard work the soccer leagues, National Park Service and NYC Parks have done to get us to this resolution. We look forward to ensuring proper protocols are put in place so that this never happens again,” Rose and Oddo said in a press release.
In previous years, Miller Field has been criticized for its unkempt and dirty conditions.
Last year, parents were outraged by overgrown grass, which they said was knee-deep in some areas.
The Gateway National Recreation Area said it hires seasonal temporary maintenance staff to prepare and maintain the fields.
“We greatly appreciate the leadership and solution-oriented focus shown by Congressman Rose and Borough President Oddo in helping to get the fields open, as well as the willingness of the leagues themselves to pitch in,” said Jen Nersesian, superintendent of the Gateway National Recreation Area.
“It shows how much we can accomplish as a team,” Nersesian said. “All of us at the National Park Service are grateful for the support.”
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