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WNY park renovations continue with reopening of Centennial Field

Earlier in the year, the town began renovations on Miller Stadium

Mayor Rodriguez kicks a soccer ball with local children.

Park renovations continue in West New York with the reopening of Centennial Field.

WNY Mayor Gabriel Rodriguez and the Board of Commissioners cut the ribbon on the newly renovated field on Oct. 2.

On the waterfront, the field features new turf and drainage improvements. The renovations are part of continuing plans to renovate three major parks.

Recreation soccer has grown substantially over the years. The field was upgraded to support the program’s growth. It’s hoped that by investing in needed repairs, youth enrollment will increase further.

A three-park plan

Other parks undergoing renovations include Miller Stadium and Patricia McEldowney Field.

On Feb. 8, ground broke for renovations at Miller Stadium, a field more than 100 years old where Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig once played. Renovations include a new drainage system and turf surface at Miller Stadium, which will now be used as a multipurpose field for football, baseball, and soccer.

Patricia McEldowney Field will be completely refurbished and equipped with security cameras to enhance public safety.

Revitalizing parks

In June of 2019, Rodriguez and the commissioners took the first steps toward revitaliziing three of West New York’s parks, voting unanimously to introduce three bond ordinances for renovations at Miller Stadium, Patricia McEldowney Field, and Centennial Field.

According to Rodriguez, there will be no cost to taxpayers because the renovations will be funded by county and state grants.

“Our parks have been severely neglected in recent years, denying our children and all residents the open space and recreational opportunities they deserve,” Rodriguez said in February. “We had an opportunity to right that wrong earlier this year, but unfortunately politics got in the way, and the former mayor blocked these much-needed improvements. I’m proud that one of our new administration’s first acts is investing in our community and our youth while fixing that profound mistake.”

Righting past wrongs

Similar bond ordinances were considered by the Board of Commissioners in January of 2019, when Rodriguez was a commissioner. However, the pleas of local parents and children who packed the meeting calling for park improvements fell on deaf ears at the time. The ordinance failed to achieve the required four votes.

Then-Mayor Dr. Felix Roque was the abstaining vote, who went on to lose to Rodriguez. The newly sworn-in Board of Commissioners passed the introduced ordinance unanimously on June 5.

“Our children are our community’s future, and I can’t wait to see these parks be rebuilt to suit their needs and give all of them places to play, learn, and grow,” said Parks and Public Property Commissioner Victor Barrera. “West New York residents deserve these kinds of community amenities, and our entire team is committed to delivering on our promise to move our town forward with actions like this.”

For updates on this and other stories, check www.hudsonreporter.com and follow us on Twitter @hudson_reporter. Dan Israel can be reached at disrael@hudsonreporter.com.