City Hit Over Brookline Ballfield
by FRITZ HUYSMAN - Post Gazette Staff Writer
Unhappy parents and youths gaze at
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
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
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
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
"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
"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.'"