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Governor Opens New 3.2 Acre Athletic Field in Hudson River Park

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$70 Million to Fund Completion of Lower Manhattan Portion of Hudson River Park

Governor George E. Pataki today joined children from sports leagues and local schools, soccer star Eddie Johnson, representatives from Hudson River Park Trust, the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation (LMDC), Nike, the U.S. Soccer Foundation and members of the Metro-Stars to open Hudson River Park's 3.2 acre Pier 40 Athletic Field. The new field is the culmination of a joint governmental, philanthropic and community effort to bring more athletic playing fields and public open space to Manhattan and its waterfront.

The Governor also announced $70 million in funding from the LMDC for completion of the Tribeca section of Hudson River Park into the vibrant community resource.

"A key part of rebuilding Lower Manhattan has been the creation of new recreation space for the downtown community," Governor Pataki said. "The completion of this field is yet another milestone achieved in the rebuilding process and demonstrates the State and City's commitment to reclaiming New York's waterfront. This field can now be enjoyed by downtown residents, workers, neighboring schools and the entire city. I want to thank the City, the LMDC, and Nike for helping to make this pier a great recreational resource for all New Yorkers.

"As we continue to revitalize downtown, we will also create or renovate over a dozen different green spaces throughout Lower Manhattan, including the completion of the Tribeca section of Hudson River Park. $70 million of LMDC funds will be directed to this tremendous project which will help strengthen the downtown community," the Governor said.

"What a great way to begin a summer vacation. Children and parents alike will appreciate the numerous uses of the ball fields along with its extended hours," said LMDC President Kevin M. Rampe. "Under Governor Pataki and Mayor Bloomberg's leadership, we have committed more than $25 million to over 120 acres of new and revitalized open spaces downtown. Whether soccer, tennis, or baseball is your game, all of these activities can be found right here in Lower Manhattan."

"What a spectacular sight!" said Charles E. Dorkey, III, Chairman of the Hudson River Park Trust. "This project has been a long time in the making and to see it come to fruition through the work of the Governor, the LMDC, Nike, the U.S. Soccer Foundation and the community is a testament to what great things can be accomplished when the government, community and private sector all work together."

"We are happy to bring this incredible playing surface to Manhattan to provide young athletes with a place to play. This field will play an important role in Nike's long-term commitment to help increase the physical activity of young people to improve their lives," said Joe Elsmore, Nike's Director of Soccer Sports Marketing.

"We are pleased to have been a member of the partnership that has significantly expanded the playing opportunities for soccer players and others in an area of Manhattan with limited recreational facilities," said John Koskinen, President of the U.S. Soccer Foundation.

The opening of the new field was followed by a soccer clinic for all the children who attended the event.

Built by the City of New York in 1962, Hudson River Park's Pier 40 served as a terminal for the Holland America Cruise Ship Line until 1983. Since that time the Pier and its courtyard have had several uses including a car parking facility, a Federal Express distribution center and a bus depot for Academy Bus Lines. In 1998, the Pier came under the jurisdiction of the Hudson River Park Trust when Governor Pataki signed the Hudson River Park Act into law which provided for a 550 acre Park to be created along the Hudson River from Battery Place up to 59th Street.

Hudson River Park's Pier 40 Courtyard Field was the result of the efforts of many individuals, groups and organizations. Integral to the project was its funding. The LMDC, the agency charged with rebuilding ground zero and revitalizing Lower Manhattan after September 11th, played a major role in the field's creation by contributing $1.7 million towards its construction. Other contributors were Nike and the U.S. Soccer Foundation. Nike's donation was part of NikeGO, the company's signature U.S. community affairs initiative and long-term commitment to getting kids more physically active. Through NikeGO and its Reuse-A-Shoe program, recycled materials such as the outsoles from ground up sneakers are used to help construct synthetic fields to help kids get moving. The grant from the U.S. Soccer Foundation was awarded as part of its All Conditions Field Program which is devoted to making high quality synthetic grass fields available to anyone that wants to play soccer.

The Pier 40 field itself is, in fact, made of a synthetic material known as FieldTurf that looks and plays just like real grass and has been approved for professional play by the Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA), soccer's international governing body. FieldTurf was selected for this project because of its durability and low maintenance compared to real grass. This allows the local sports leagues an opportunity for continuous, year-round play. The field's designers included Mathews Nielsen Landscape Architects, Arup and Kenny and Kahn Architects under the supervision of the Hudson River Park Trust's Design and Construction Department.

Hudson River Park, designed to be self-sustaining, will stretch five miles - from Battery Park to 59th Street - along the Hudson River, and will include a continuous waterside esplanade and bikeway/walkway, 13 public piers for passive and active recreation, a marine sanctuary and a variety of boating facilities, sports fields, gardens, and green lawns. Portions of the project already completed include the Greenwich Village Section (from Clarkson Street to Horatio Street) and the continuous two-way bike, skate and jogging path. Another portion of the Park slated for opening this month is Hudson River Park's Clinton Cove, located in the Park's northernmost section. Clinton Cove will feature a beautiful public boathouse and river get-down, allowing visitors to get close to and experience the Hudson River like never before.

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