The Bronx, NY -- NYC Parks Commissioner Mitchell J. Silver, FAICP, today joined DREAM Executive Director Rich Berlin, City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr., former New York Yankee Mark Teixeira and representatives from the Cal Ripken Foundation to cut the ribbon on a new ballfield at Patterson Playground in Mott Haven.
DREAM raised $1.5 million as part of Parks’ Adopt-a-Park program to transform the former concrete blacktop into a baseball field. Construction began in fall of 2016 and is now complete, with a brand new synthetic turf field that will benefit the local community and students at PS 18. The field will also be used for DREAM summer and after-school programming.
“Less than a year ago, this beautiful ballfield was just blacktop,” said Commissioner Silver. “Thanks to DREAM’s vision and commitment to the South Bronx, we now have a synthetic turf field that will be an invaluable resource for the students of PS 18 and the entire Mott Haven community. Next year, Parks will continue the transformation by putting $2.5 million into new courts, swings, play equipment, a garden and other exciting additions.”
“After DREAM began as a summer program in a lot in East Harlem, one of our goals became crystal clear: to become partners in communities by turning underutilized spaces into places where children and families can grow and strive,” said Richard Berlin, Executive Director at DREAM. “The achievement of turning a blacktop into a true ball field here in the South Bronx was possible because of the hard work of this community and we are incredibly grateful for all of their efforts.”
In Fall 2018, Parks will begin a $2.5 million renovation of the remaining Patterson Playground, including new basketball and handball courts, play equipment, swings, a new garden and landscaping. The phase II renovation is being funded by $2.2 million from Council Speaker Mark-Viverito and $300,000 from Mayor de Blasio.
“DREAM has shown that little league can make a big difference in the lives of our kids, inspiring and nurturing nearly 2,000 children by giving them a place to play, learn and grow, said New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito. “The City Council is proud to have provided a $2.2 million investment to ensure that the young people of this community in the South Bronx fulfill the potential that they have. I want to thank our partners at DREAM, the NYC Parks Department and those in the private sector for continuing our work to promote play and growth for children across New York City.”
“The DREAM organization has done great work not only in The Bronx but across New York City,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. “This organization has had a positive impact on our communities, and I am very pleased to welcome them to the South Bronx. I am excited about the impact this new field will have on the school and the community, and I look forward to working with DREAM to improve the lives of our borough’s youth for years to come.”
"The Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation is very proud to partner with DREAM, and support their very important mission,” said Steve Salem, President of the Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation. “DREAM is one of the finest youth organizations in America, and the more we all do to support the young people they serve, the better off this nation will be."
“We are thrilled to work with DREAM, the Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation our partners at Major League Baseball and the South Bronx community to ensure our young people have a place to play, learn, and grow,” said Stacey Ullrich, Senior Director Global Philanthropy at Under Armour. “Everything we do at Under Armour begins
with passion – and that was definitely the case for the Patterson Field of Dreams project. Everyone came together because of passion to provide opportunity and access for youth and now this incredible new field will be a part of many individuals journey and not only have an impact on their lives but all those who follow after them. The field is beautiful, but what will happen here is what it is all about."
”The Baseball Tomorrow Fund is proud to be a long-time supporter of DREAM and its RBI baseball and softball program,” said Cathy Bradley, Executive Director of the Baseball Tomorrow Fund. “On behalf of Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players Association, we thank DREAM for expanding its programs to include the Bronx and for its continued leadership to bring additional quality playing fields to the city.”
"I'm happy to support the kids at DREAM and excited to see them on the field making use of this beautiful new field. It's an honor to be a part of DREAM's mission to provide opportunities for inner-city kids to succeed through the great game of baseball," said former New York Yankee Alex Rodriguez.
“We are proud supporters of DREAM and its newest addition to the South Bronx community- the Field of Dreams at Patterson Park,” said Mindy and Jon Gray, Co-Founders of the Gray Foundation. “We believe all children should have access to the excellent educational, athletic and enrichment opportunities that DREAM provides and look forward to seeing kids hit it out of the park for years to come."
"It's not just a field. Rather it's a place that will bring about hope and life into a neighborhood that needs it,” said philanthropists Patty and Jay Baker, former president of Kohl’s.
The Adopt-a-Park program allows organizations to show their commitment to local communities by renovating a beloved playground, resurfacing a basketball or tennis court, or turning unused, paved areas into green spaces with flowers and trees. Organizations interested in the Adopt-a-Park program can call (212) 360-8144 or email AdoptAPark@parks.nyc.gov for more information.