After losing a lawsuit to play out the remainder of the season at the Middle Village park, a coach for the Maspeth-based youth football league said the league’s board will meet to consider further action.
One option, said the coach, Tim Cavanaugh, is to take the case to the Court of Appeals. “We are going to discuss it as a board and decide if we want to bring it to the Appellate Division,” said Cavanaugh.
After the city kicked the league off the grass fields at Juniper Valley Park, citing concerns that players’ cleats were damaging the grass, the Queens Falcons sued to continue using the park.
The traveling league, founded in 1957, uses the park for training and games. It serves over 250 youngsters between the ages of seven and 19, and Cavanaugh said the league takes good care of the space.
Nonetheless, a Queens Supreme Court judge sided with the city in an October 28th decision, ruling that the league never applied for a permit to use the park.
In published reports the Parks Department said it was “pleased” with the ruling.
Cavanaugh called it “a lie.”
“Why would we file for a permit for 23 years and then all of a sudden not file for a permit?” he said. “They’ve tried for 20 years to throw us out.”
For now, the city has succeeded.
The league is finishing its season at Victory Field in Forest Park, playing on artificial turf fields Cavanaugh said are dangerous for young players. Studies show turf fields, made in part from recycled rubber, have high levels of toxicity.
Cavanaugh said by kicking the league out of Juniper Valley Park, the city is trying to control who uses the space, and for what activities.
“Go there on a Saturday morning and let me know the one characteristic that everyone on the field has,” he said. On Saturday mornings, a majority of the children playing sports there are white. “There’s more to this, believe me,” he added.
Cavanaugh said with little choice that the league will continue in the foreseeable future at Victory Field. “At the end of the day the Falcons are going to go on,” he said. “We’re going to keep helping kids.”
In the meantime, however, as a sign of protest, he said the league is considering removing its 9/11 memorial banner from Juniper Valley Park. The banner, said Cavanaugh, could be moved to the league’s new home at Victory Field.