Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Article
March, 1976

City Hit Over Brookline Ballfield Delay
by FRITZ HUYSMAN - Post Gazette Staff Writer

Post-Gazette photo 03/06/76 page 9.
Unhappy parents and youths gaze at barren field
at Brookline Memorial Park where the city
had planned to build a baseball field.

An unfinished baseball field has resulted in a lot of unhappy adults and children in Brookline.

The adults, members of the Brookline Little League Association, charged that the unfinished field at Brookline Memorial Park on Breining Street is the latest example of how the city has ignored the community's recreational needs.

According to Angelo Masullo, association president, the city department of Parks and Recreation promised the community many things since it accepted ownership of the 16-acre park for $1 in 1967 - the latest being a new baseball diamond - but has come through with very little.

As part of the 1967 agreement, the city said that within five years it would develop the 16 acres along with 44 acres of city-owned land into a large recreation area.

It was to include play areas, picnic areas, camping sites, nature trails, an activities building and ballfields.

Brookline got its activities center, but only after residents applied pressure to City Council a month before the five-year period ended, Masullo said. The other promises are still dreams. What improvements have been made were done mostly by parents and children.

A parks and recreation spokesman said earlier this week the new ballfield would not be finished this spring. "With a little luck, the field may be ready by fall, but in all probability it will not be complete until the spring of 1977," a department official said.

The delay, Masullo said, will force the association to cancel its Senior Little League program in which 90 boys ages 13 to 15 were expected to participate this summer.

The possibility of having more teenagers with idle time on their hands has upset Brookline parents, Masullo said.

"We already have a problem with kids this age," he said. "This will put more boys on the boulevard at night.

There are two other baseball fields at the park, which 460 younger boys and girls are expected to use this season. However, they are too small for Senior Little League, according to Masullo.

The fields were made smaller over the winter by the city, he said. In an effort to form a gradual slope to where the new field is to be constructed, a city contractor cut away about 50 feet of the outfield from one field, and 20 feet from the other. The city said the slope would prevent landslides, Masullo said.

With the grading, the city also tore down both outfield fences and two of six light standards on the one field equipped for night baseball.

Without outfield fences, the fields are unsafe because of the slope which drops about 60 feet, Masullo said.

The city parks department has said it plans to erect lights on both fields, but Masullo and several other parents said this is too little too late.

A number of Brookline parents charged that the city is stalling.

"The minute you mention Brookline, they figure we're well fixed (financially) and don't need any services," Masullo said. "This has always been the case. The biggest part of our taxes seem to go to the city. Whenever something needs to get done, they come to the South Hills."

"People aren't going to stand for this any longer. If we have to picket City Hall and sit in the streets, then that's what we'll do."

The city blamed the delay on damp weather earlier this year and the huge amount of landfill (a half-million cubic yards) required to level off the area.

When it appeared the field might not be finished on time, the parks department offered to provide Brookline another diamond elsewhere in the city. This was rejected because it would put too much of a burden on the parents who would have to drive the players to the alternate site.

Meanwhile, the city denied is has ignored Brookline's recreational needs.

"We have 72 neighborhoods in the city and I'm sure they all feel they're being slighted," said a parks department spokesman. "We're trying to help Brookline. The trouble is that it's tough to improve something when it's in use. We have a lot of construction going on and it's like Con Edison saying, 'Pardon our digging.'"

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