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Contact: Daphne Yun, NPS, 718-354-4602
Contact: Paul King, Rockaway Little League, 646-285-1246
Gateway National Recreation Area and Rockaway Little League (RLL) have signed a seven-year lease on the use of a clubhouse and corresponding lands, which include ball fields, in Fort Tilden, part of Gateway National Recreation Area.
"Play ball!" said Superintendent Linda Canzanelli. "Finally, Gateway and RLL have found a way to authorize RLL's activity at the park using the correct legal instrument. We can accommodate the needs of community groups whenever they are consistent with National Park Service laws, regulations, and values."
"After all our neighborhood has been through, it means so much for our kids to be able to get back on the ball field and have fun with their friends," said Martin P. Andresen, president of the Rockaway Little League. "This seven-year commitment from Gateway comes at just the right time."
The lease terms and conditions took effect upon signature of the Lease by Regional Director Dennis Reidenbach, in the Philadelphia office, on January 30. Currently, the Fort Tilden area of the park is closed to all visitors in the wake of damage from Hurricane Sandy. The ball fields themselves do not appear to be badly damaged.
Negotiations have been underway for about two years between Gateway and RLL. The lease is issued pursuant to the Code of Federal Regulations (36 CFR 18), which authorizes national parks to lease property not necessary for visitor service or park management at fair market value, so long as the use is not inconsistent with the park's mission and values.
The lease allows RLL to conduct Little League activities in the clubhouse and ball fields, in a manner consistent with NPS laws and regulations. Any changes or improvements to the land or clubhouse require the prior written permission of the park. Signs must be approved by the NPS before they are posted. Parking remains under the authority of the NPS.
About Rockaway Little League
RLL has served the peninsula's youth since 1954. It will begin its 60th season in 2013. Jacob Riis Park was the League's home from 1954 until 1982. In 1994, the League reached an agreement with Gateway to return to the park.
Each year 700-800 children from 500 Rockaway families participate in Little League. In addition, the facilities are used by more than 1,200 children from travel leagues in Brooklyn and Queens. RLL also shares the fields with PSAL teams and local non-profits on an as-needed basis. In total, more than 70,000 visitors are drawn to Fort Tilden each year to play or watch baseball and softball. The fields are a great gateway to Gateway.
About Gateway National Recreation Area
Established in 1972, Gateway National Recreation Area offers more than 26,000 acres of marshes, wildlife sanctuaries and recreational athletic facilities, miles of sandy beaches; indoor and outdoor classrooms; picnicking and camping areas, as well as historic structures and military installations, airfields, a lighthouse, and adjacent waters around New York harbor. The park offers urban residents in two states a wide range of recreational opportunities year round. With more than eight million visitors a year, it is one of the top five most visited national parks in the country. For information about Gateway's upcoming public programs, see the park's Web site at http://www.nps.gov/gate/index. htm