Contractors working on sorely needed fixes to the baseball diamond at Sid Augarten Field have fenced off all but the playground in Vinmont Veteran Park’s northeast corner and do not plan on taking the fences down until next year.
The closure of the entire park came as a surprise to Community Board 8’s Parks & Recreation committee chair Bob Bender.
“It may well have been two years ago that [the Parks Department] presented us with plans. But I don’t recall that anyone said ‘We’re going to fence off Vinmont,’” Mr. Bender said.
The baseball-field renovation has been in the works since many of its intended beneficiaries were in diapers.
“We’ve been concerned about the condition of Sid Augarten Field for many years, it probably goes back to the beginning of my tenure as councilman back in 2001,” Councilman Oliver Koppell said when work began in July.
In 2007, then-Bronx Borough President Adolfo Carrion and Mr. Koppell each allocated funds to fix the Mosholu Avenue field. Since then, each office has repeatedly upped its contributions — now at around $1.8 million — to meet constantly rising cost estimates.
With rutted grounds and regular flooding, local children had been playing on a worsening and uneven field for years.
The first part of construction for the field’s drainage problems began last year but the full renovation hit a particularly frustrating delay for those involved.
It’s been about two years since the renovation — which includes reconstruction of the baseball field and woodland area of the park — has been fully funded. Work was expected to start in December 2010 but the Department of Parks and Recreation failed to choose a contractor for the work until March of this year.
The lowest bidder, a contractor that Bronx Parks Commissioner Hector Aponte said never worked with the Parks Department before, was denied. Then the contractor filed an appeal that further delayed the process.