UPDATE: President of NYC Soccer Collective met with the Manhattan Chief of Operations for the Parks Dept today and the meeting went well. Everything should be resolved this week. We will keep you posted! Thank you so much for your support-- it means so much!
NYC Soccer Collective, formed in 2003 as the first coed soccer league in NYC, is about to lose their nighttime use of Nike Field in Chinatown, NYC.
Several years ago when it was unable to obtain additional field space to accommodate the number of teams in their league, NYCSC approached the Parks Department and proposed to rent lights so that its league could use the field after dark, when it normally sat unused. When the agreement was made, and more recently in a meeting in the Spring of 2012, the Parks Department told NYCSC that it had complete jurisdiction of the lights. It stated that NYCSC could arrange its own agreements with other organizations who wanted to use the lights as it felt appropriate.
At over $3000 per month, renting light towers for the fields is very costly. In addition, their maintenance costs include scheduling tower rental and delivery, monthly fueling, bulbs and engine replacement, managing vandalism, and staffing the field with someone to operate them each night. When other groups are involved, additional work includes invoicing, payment transactions and off the clock staff to operate them. Despite this, NYCSC has been extremely accommodating and cooperative in working out rental arrangements with these organizations over the past few years.
Recently, however, a sports league that previously rented NYCSC’s lights inquired about doing so again this fall. Due to difficulty dealing with the other sports league in the past, NYCSC was hesitant to work with them again and unable to give an immediate answer. The other sports league promptly filed complaints with NYC Parks Department, which elicited the following message from them to NYCSC on 9/20/12: "It seems like the ability to share lights is not working so starting October 1st all permits for lights at Nike Fields are cancelled. We will no longer allow any groups to use lights at this location."
This news was incredibly disheartening. With 45 teams and 450+ players, NYC Soccer Collective uses Nike field 6 nights a week-- it is a vital part of the league’s operations and a crucial revenue generator for the league. Without access to Nike, the league will not be able to sustain itself financially and will likely be forced to close up shop, displacing hundreds of soccer players throughout NYC.
In a time where heart disease, obesity, and diabetes are killing people daily, we desperately need places like Nike Field to provide us with safe, well-lit places to exercise and stay healthy. It would be devastating to take away something that is a symbol of progress in urban centers like New York. We can’t let this happen, please join the New York Soccer Collective in petitioning the NYC Parks Department to TURN ON THE LIGHTS! and keep us playing soccer in NYC parks, even when the sun goes down.