Management cites environmental reasons, but will partner with PSLL on alternate practice location
By Maria Rocha-Buschel
The Courts at Stuy Town, the name given to the tented basketball courts open during colder months at Playground 11, will not be returning this coming winter. ST/PCV General Manager Rick Hayduk made the announcement in an emailed newsletter last Wednesday, noting that analysis showed that “the actual usage of the basketball courts did not contribute to the overall quality of life” for residents.
The newsletter noted that the decision not to bring back The Courts after just two seasons was because of environmental factors, but Hayduk clarified that this explanation had two meanings. The first related to Stuy Town’s “Good Neighbors” campaign aimed at reducing noise and other complaints related to quality of life.
“This was almost a three story tent and we got a lot of complaints about that,” Hayduk said.
STPCV Tenants Association president Susan Steinberg said that the TA also received a number of noise complaints about The Courts when they were open.
“From the perspective of tenants who were unhappy, we’re pleased for them,” Steinberg said on the decision to not reopen the tent. “We agree it’s an environmental issue in terms of noise. There were too many tenants around the tents who were suffering.”
Another reason for the closure was related to how much energy it took to keep the tents heated all winter.
“It expended a lot of energy to create a comfortable temperature inside the tent,” Hayduk said. “We have embarked on a major energy conservation initiative. The inefficiency in the tent and amount of people who used it did not balance out.”
Hayduk added that Stuy Town has joined Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Carbon Challenge, which has a goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions 80 percent below the level it was in 2005 by the year 2050, and providing heating for a space that large that wasn’t insulated didn’t meet those standards.
For those who did use the courts, StuyTown Property Services is currently working on partnering with local gyms to coordinate availability for residents, including kids who are members of the Peter Stuyvesant Little League. Any parents who had their children enrolled in programming at The Courts will receive notice about the new locations once finalized. A schedule will also be posted on the website.
Peter Stuyvesant Little League president Jeff Ourvan said The Courts had given the players a real advantage because it allowed them to prepare before the regular season started.
“It improved quality of playing,” he said. But he noted Hayduk has promised to help the league.
“Rick approached us right away (after the announcement) and said, ‘we want to maintain the program,’” Ourvan said. “He has a great vision about ways in which (Stuy Town) can support the little league.”
Hayduk noted that Stuy Town would be making a $50,000 financial commitment over the next three years that will allow the PSLL to work with Con Ed to improve facilities at the field, although there are no specific plans in place for this yet.
The funding will comes from a charitable arm of Stuy Town Property Services that is dedicated for community affairs and community engagement.
“A lot of Stuy Town families are in the little league,” Hayduk said. “Not only are we taking care of our own but it’s an extremely worthy cause so that’s why we’re committing the resources. We are committed to advancement of league.”
Ourvan said that the PSLL is looking for indoor spaces as close to STPCV as possible and Stuy Town will also be underwriting the expense for leasing the space. Ourvan said that the league has already narrowed it down to a couple of possible locations and he hopes to have a final spot solidified in the next couple of weeks in time for registration at the beginning of October.
“A lot of the schools are fully scheduled already or are just not large enough to accommodate baseball practices,” he said of the constraints to finding a space.
The decision on The Courts will not affect the property’s ice rink, which will open in early November as usual.