A Palisades resident asked on social media: “Why has an out-of-state, private business (Super Soccer Stars) been allowed to overtake the only flat, open space in the Palisades Recreation Center for their for-profit use? This is a public space, and they are paying a very small amount to lease the space for their private classes.
“Our park also does not see any of the money—leasing fees go to a general fund. This is not a fair trade off to locals to lose an entire park space for a business operation. I was told they used to lease for a few hours—it is now 32 classes per week. There are over 20 classes on Sunday, in our park alone! I’ve been told Sonya Jimenez in Recs and Parks is responsible for the increased leasing and is intent on generating money, even at the neighborhood’s expense. This is excessive, and their overuse also completely destroys the grass (the company uses it even when wet—there is no oversight).”
This editor thought it was a legitimate question and sent an April 1 email to the Board of Rec and Park Commissioners, asking that question. (If residents have a park question or a comment about parks, one can address the Commissioners, who are volunteers and provide civilian oversight. Email: email@example.com)
On April 14, CTN received the following response from RAP: “They are conducting soccer clinics for youth 3-5 years old. They are a local group that permits half of the upper field on Sundays 9-11 a.m., Tuesdays and Thursdays 3-5 p.m. They have been permitting this area for years even before the new administration. They have a great group and program for the community.”
CTN wrote a reply: “Thank you so much for the response. As far as the second part of the question–how much money are they being charged for the permit: how much money does that group generate? Does that money stay in the Palisades, which is a cost-recovery center?”
As soon as there is a response, I will update the story.
Clearly re-seeding needs to take place before the entire field is dirt
The upper lawn is not used only for soccer classes, but for many other activities that may be damaging the lawn/grass: flag football, football, baseball, etc., in addition to a few dogs.
I believe at one time AYSO payed for grass maintenance or improvements at Paul Revere. If this group is destroying the lawn, maybe they could be responsible for re seeding 1x a year? The grass is very vulnerable to damage when wet, it tears up the roots etc. But, obviously a for profit entity doesn’t mind they are thinking of the bottom line. Working with the city can be a tedious chore. Thank you for writing about this.
The Park spokesperson is completely wrong with their “facts”. A few minutes of research confirms this is indeed a large New York based company; the information is available on their website, http://www.soccerstars.com. They are using this park space 31 classes per week, to the tune of $400 per child for two months. Assuming just 5 kids per class (it is more), that is over $62,000 this private company is making off of a public space in just two months, at the expense of the public’s rightful access to this space. And they run multiple seasons per year. The schedule of their classes is available on their website, and it is egregious. They also post advertising all over the park.