Box lacrosse set for Community Park rink

At the Recreation Commission’s October 26 meeting inside the Golf Club Lane Senior Center, Recreation Program Development Supervisor Sandra Young announced that box lacrosse has been approved for the roller rink at Community Park. In late June Carlos Cabana of Twenty Four Lacrosse attended the Commission’s monthly meeting and advocated for his organization’s intended use of the facility, noting the high level of popularity lacrosse in general has in his hometown of Garden City. After Cabana attended the June 29 meeting, Twenty Four Lacrosse played an exhibition game at the rink on Thursday, August 17, and pictures were published in the newspaper on August 25 with a few comments from the organization:

“Parents were very happy with the gameplay and the kids really had an awesome time. They asked to continue playing until 6pm so the GC Village Board of Trustees could see the game in action (they were at Community Park for the ribbon cutting for the new turf field). Twenty Four Lacrosse would like to use the rink for practices and is willing to run a box lacrosse league via its league management software hosted on our website…The kids who played may have made history. This may be the first game of box lacrosse ever played in Garden City.”

On October 26, Young told the five Commission members at the meeting that a $100 per hour fee for the hockey rink was established as the Recreation Department listened to community groups’ proposals to use the facility for other purposes. Young said in addition to box lacrosse, soccer organizations have inquired about using the rink. Also if hockey groups outside the village would want to rent the hockey rink, the $100 per hour rate applies.

“The time that they’d be allowed to use it would be after any public use periods that have already established,” Young said.

The box lacrosse and schedule would include weekday sessions after school hours (3 pm and later) and evening play. Young says inquiries for facility use in the village this fall have centered on the rink and not yet on the new Multi-Use synthetic turf field at Community Park, which is mainly booked by village-based organizations. Commission member Michael Ryder considered some of the discussion at the June 29 meeting with the box lacrosse request, and he asked about maintenance of the rink and the department’s plans on scheduling. A comment posted with the News’ reporting on the proposal in early July summarized one concern: “When there aren’t organized hockey games going on kids play pickup games. It’s the ONLY place for hockey in town and was built for hockey.”

In an email to The Garden City News on November 1, Village department head of Recreation and Parks Kevin Ocker quelled the concern and explained that box lacrosse practices started at the very end of October, and games will start at the rink the week of November 6 through 10. He advises that box lacrosse will be played from 7 to 8 p.m. during the week.

“We have scheduled this new use of the rink without interfering with scheduled ‘Open Time’ for walk up play. Generally that time is prior to dark, and we do schedule open time on Thursday evenings as well. We are encouraged to have the opportunity to maximize the use of this great recreational asset,” Ocker wrote.

Multiple Benefits with Multi-Use Field

For the Multi-Use field the Recreation department has decided starting rates (facility fees) of $200 per hour “unlit” while the use of stadium lighting, or the “lighted per hour rate” would be $300. That compares with the established rates at the new synthetic turf Community Park baseball field rates, which are $100 per hour unlit and $125 per hour with lighting. Ocker said this is in line with Farmingdale’s facility rates. In Garden City, the St. Paul’s facility field use is $150 per hour.

“We can talk about it as we look around at other new facilities in the area, but at $300 for lighting and the Multi-Use field we are at market rates,” Ocker said. Young also explained that if a group other than established village sports league want to rent the Multi- Use field anytime, it is a rental based on space available on the current schedule. But Recreation has designated its off-season rates, even if the established village sports groups want to rent the field, then they will need to pay for it.”

Based on feedback from village sports leagues, the new Mulit-Use field is a success. Young said the Centennials soccer league had moved back its weekend schedule at times to allow the children to play under the lights on the new Multi-Use field.

Ocker said the GC Thunder football got the entire program to use the field during the year, “without using Stewart Field, as far as we know.” The newest Rec. Commission member Christian Siragusa is a coach with the GC Thunder, and he told Ocker and his colleagues that due to the change in usage of Stewart Field the grass there looks pristine and is growing very nicely.

“We did walkthroughs at Stewart on Saturday mornings and all the coaches commented on how beautiful the grass looks,” Siragusa said.

Young added that the timing of opening the new Multi-Use field and its use by village organizations opened a new opportunity for Stewart Field to be rented. She said a West Hempstead football organization (the Broncos youth teams) needed to find a field to play and practice on as their field was being renovated this season by the town. “They have rented Stewart Field from us for two weeks and they moved their games to it and paid us for it so they could host some home games, otherwise they were traveling everywhere. It has worked out for everybody,” she said.

Ryder asked about locks used for securing the perimeter of the new Multi- Use field and Ocker said in its first few months there had been a couple of “infiltrators” trespassing into the field area by climbing over the fence. The field remains locked each night and the staff monitors field usage constantly.

Fees Up for Practices on Village Green Space

Another initiative discussed at the October 26 Recreation Commission meeting was increased fees for rentals of recreation green spaces in the village, “no lines and no goals, just the grass” primarily for practices. Examples of green spaces used include strips along Rockaway Avenue at St. Paul’s campus northeast corner and another strip near the concessions stand and restrooms, as well as outfields of baseball fields if a game is not booked. Recreation also rents the groups green spaces near the Stewart Manor train station, Tullamore Park and Grove Park. The practice/ training times are finished before games are played on those fields.

Young said the rates for these organizations stemmed from a request to Recreation a few years ago about a girls’ lacrosse program. A handful of organizations are renters of village facilities just for practice and training, still requiring permits approved by Recreation. But with the growth and increased participation of those programs, new fees were in line. After speaking with the organization’s leadership, Young learned that the groups charge $160 to $200 per child for a program running six to eight weeks.

“With fees to rent an area out in St. Paul’s with just the grass for training and small practices, it was established (by the Rec. Commission) for groups to pay per-day and not per-hour, which was $87.50 a day. The groups could run three to six hours a day on the field, and we considered a normal training or practice about two hours per group. But most of the groups have grown into major clinics or training camps, some of them are out there holding multiple programs per day, making money with the use of village fields and we are getting a very small portion of that,” Young said.

The Rec. Commission voted to approve a fee of $45 per hour for the green spaces at village facilities, and the total for a two hour practice would be $90. Young says the groups will likely be returning for village green space usage in spring 2018, and she will inform them of the increase in fees now.

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