Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg today joined Parks & Recreation Commissioner Adrian Benepe and Lower Manhattan Development Corporation (LMDC) President Kevin M. Rampe to cut the ribbon on four reconstructed ballfields in John V. Lindsay East River Park. The $4.6 million project was funded by the LMDC and is part of a $24.6 million allocation to create or enhance 13 different green spaces in Lower Manhattan. The project included the renovation of two natural grass ballfields and the installation of two state-of-the-art synthetic turf fields that will maximize playtime, enable year-round use. "Revitalized parks and open spaces play a central role in our vision for Lower Manhattan by increasing the quality of life downtown for residents, employees and visitors," said Mayor Bloomberg. "With the completion of these ballfields, we reaffirm our commitment to improving New York City's waterfront and our downtown open spaces. Thanks to the support of the Governor Pataki, the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation and corporate partners, we continue to expand and improve our green spaces throughout Lower Manhattan." "These ballfields are another addition to the network of parks and open space projects in Lower Manhattan," said Governor Pataki. "Together, Mayor Bloomberg and I have committed the largest investment in parks in Lower Manhattan since the creation of Battery Park City. Open spaces such as these ballfields are so important to communities, which is why our rebuilding efforts include the creation or renovation of over a dozen different green spaces throughout Lower Manhattan. All of these park projects are part of our vision for transforming downtown into a true mixed use community." In May of 2003, Mayor Bloomberg and Governor Pataki announced LMDC's allocation of $24.6 million to rejuvenate Lower Manhattan through 13 new or improved parks. LMDC's contributions have been critical in the overall effort to increase public open spaces to serve Lower Manhattan visitors, residents and workers. The reconstruction of the ballfields at John V. Lindsay East River Park is the fifth project to be completed as part of the LMDC allocation. Other recently completed projects include renovations at Tribeca Park, Bowling Green Park and Washington Market Park. The remaining projects are scheduled to be completed by the end of this year. "Since 1940, East River Park has been one of New York City's great waterfront parks," said Commissioner Benepe. "In recent years, its age started to show. These new ballfields create an ideal recreation hub, and the surrounding landscape provides a beautiful setting overlooking the East River. This project builds upon the critical rehabilitation work that has been underway at this gateway to Lower Manhattan." "The East River waterfront has long been home to quintessential New York City views and open spaces. These new ballfields will further transform the East River Park into a twenty-first century multi-use recreational space for all of Lower Manhattan's families and visitors to enjoy," said LMDC President Kevin M. Rampe. "This is just one of the over a dozen new and revitalized parks downtown from river to river, from Chinatown to the Battery, made possible under the leadership of Governor Pataki and Mayor Bloomberg." Two of the four ballfields at John V. Lindsay East River Park have been restored using synthetic turf, and two smaller natural fields were refurbished with new sod, providing facilities for over 200 recreation leagues and school groups. The larger turf ballfield area also includes a soccer field. Bleachers have also been installed for spectators, irrigation and drainage has been improved, and recreation sport lighting will facilitate evening play. Parks & Recreation also replaced fencing, benches, and drinking fountains to improve the surrounding landscape. The turf fields will be ready for use immediately. The natural fields need time for the sod to firmly take root and will be ready this spring. The 57-acre John V. Lindsay East River Park runs along the FDR Drive and East River from Montgomery Street to East 12th Street. In addition to recent improvements made to ballfields and landscaping throughout the park, work will soon begin on a $60 million Mayorally-funded project to repair the deteriorated waterfront bulkhead along the East River. The bulkhead is expected to be completed in 2008. The Department of Parks & Recreation has installed 42 new synthetic turf ballfields in the past three years, 15 artificial fields are currently under construction and there are 21 projects in design. Synthetic turf fields offer excellent drainage, are easy to maintain, and ideal for multi-use recreation fields.