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Hudson River Park Officials Set To Repair Damaged Fields, Facilities

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TWC News: Hudson River Park Officials Set To Repair Damaged Fields, Facilities
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Crews are working to clean up and repair park facilities damaged by Hurricane Sandy, including Pier 40 and Pier 25 on the Hudson River. NY1's Natasha Ghoneim filed the following report.

From soccer and baseball to lacrosse and football, a field on Pier 40 of Manhattan's Hudson River Park is used more than 200,000 times a year by children and adults.

"These fields, people have described them to me as the 'lungs of lower Manhattan' because they provide our kids a chance to breathe," said Andy Scruton of Downtown United Soccer.

Hurricane Sandy left millions of dollars in damages across Hudson River Park. The storm uprooted the Pier 25 playground, which only opened two years ago, wiped out electrical equipment and brought an abrupt end to the season for sports leagues.

"It cut short our fall ball program by about there weeks," said John Economou of the Greenwich Village Little League. "The way it ended was so anti-climactic."

Sandy socked a park already swimming in debt. Even before the storm, chunks of concrete were falling off Pier 40.

Money needed to make those repairs was expected to create an $82 million deficit over the next 10 years. But the youth leagues have united and pitched in to refurbish the field.

"It's been a huge outpouring of help to get this stuff back up and running. It's been pretty incredible. It's been pretty stressful for a lot of people but it's been good," said Chris McGinnis of Downtown United Soccer.

An anonymous donor pledged $100,000 to restore the Pier 25 playground and is urging the millions of people who walk through the park each year to make a donation.

"We want to get as much done as soon as we can and as much as we can leverage cash-wise. We expect we'll be making applications to FEMA for most of the damage," said CEO Madelyn Wils of the Hudson River Park Trust.

The hope is by next spring, children will be competing at Pier 40 and playing at Pier 25 again.

"While everyone is suffering from this whole superstorm right now, we also owe it to our children to try to get their lives back to normal," said Cindy Sirko of Gotham Girls.

Even then, Hudson River Park will have to figure out how to make pre-hurricane damage repairs without sinking deeper in debt, an issue some people say is crucial to the park's future. To donate to the park, visit hudsonriverpark.org.

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