Volume 23, Number 3 | The Newspaper of Lower Manhattan | May 28 - June 3, 2010
Dialogue to continue on Asphalt Green’s BPC campus
BY John Bayles
Senior staff from Asphalt Green attended a Community Board (CB) 1 committee meeting on Monday to present for the first time a defined vision of the non-profit’s campus in Batter Park City, slated to open in January 2012.
But it was not the description of the pools multi-purpose rooms, 150-seat theater or even the state of the art culinary center that generated the most discussion; instead it was anticipated revenue from youth sports. Currently, Asphalt Green is predicting to generate roughly $1.9 million in revenue from its youth sports programs.
“The program revenue numbers strike me as quite high. How do you do that in this community,” asked Mark Costello who has been affiliated with the Downtown Little League for years. “There’s a lot more economic diversity in our community than people realize.”
“We don’t consider that a very large number,” said Paul Weiss, a senior program director for the non-profit.
Weiss said Asphalt Green had looked at the demographics of the area, the schools and the income levels, and said they were “confident” in their estimation. On Tuesday he said his confidence was even greater now that the Alliance for Downtown has released their residential survey reflecting a population boom in Lower Manhattan.
Costello said the Downtown Football league has between 200 and 300 kids and that last year 43 percent of the parents asked for financial aid. He asserted that based on Asphalts Green’s estimated enrollment for youth sports, they would need 900 kids to participate.
“That’s more than all of the kids in the Downtown Little League and in [Bob] Townley’s programs combined.”
Costello brought up the ability for Asphalt Green to offer scholarships for their programs. The group is currently planning outreach programs geared toward specific population groups, including seniors and school sports leagues.
“Outreach means free or deeply discounted,” said Weiss.
Weiss said one thing that Asphalt Green prided themselves on was being creative. He said if they discover that outreach for participants in youth sports is a better model in BPC, they would choose that route instead, which might address Costello’s concerns.
Currently, there is a memorandum of understanding between CB 1’s BPC Ballfields and Community Centers task forces, the Battery Park City Authority (BPCA) and Asphalt Green. All groups said on Monday they were committed to ongoing dialogue.
A major concern from the beginning has been that Asphalt Green’s presence in the community would possibly drive other youth oriented programs out of business. Asphalt Weiss responded to that concern by pointing out that Asphalt Green is most excited about its adult programming in BPC, a void the group has identified and believes they can fill.
“I think the community will enjoy Asphalt Green,” he said. “I’m looking forward to input for the non fitness programming — tremendous interest in and sensitivity to the local voids.”
Asphalt Green will return to the committee in September to present in a more formalized way their anticipated budget as it relates to programming.