2013-01-18 / Sports

Play Ball! Little League Safe At Home

League Gets New Lease On Life

U.S. Senator Charles Schumer announced that the National Park Service (NPS) has completed a long-term lease with the Rockaway Little League which will allow its teams to utilize the Fort Tilden fields under a special use permit at the park. Schumer facilitated the negotiations between NPS and the Little League and said the park will be home to the youth baseball league for seven years.

“Rockaway Little League is made up of bright, hard working kids in the community and these kids should be allowed to play baseball in their home,” said Schumer. “After the devastation caused by Sandy to the region, I hope this provides just a little bit of hope to the children and families of the Rockaways. I am delighted that NPS has signed onto a long-term lease so that these children can continue to play ball for many years to come. I look forward to hearing about Rockaway Little League’s successful games at Fort Tilden in the future.”

According to a Schumer spokesperson, the lease cost is $100 per year.

Paul King, a Rockaway Little League Board member, said "After all our neighborhood has been through, it means so much for our kids to be able to get back on the ballfield and have fun with their friends. This 7-year commitment from Gateway comes at just the right time.”

Rockaway Little League has served the peninsula’s youth since 1954. It will begin its 60th season in 2013.

Riis Park was the League’s home from 1954 until 1982. With the help of then- Congressman Schumer, the League reached an agreement in 1994 to return to Gateway and build five baseball/softball fields in Ft. Tilden.

Each year 700-800 children from 500 Rockaway families participate in Little League. More than 50 teams compete in nine divisions. In addition, more than 1,200 children from Brooklyn- and Queens-based travel leagues use the facilities. Rockaway Little League also shares the fields with PSAL teams and local nonprofits on an as-needed basis. In total, more than 70,000 visitors are drawn to Ft. Tilden each year to play baseball.

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