On Sept. 10, Red Hook Soccer Club President Ed Mercier emailed club members to enlist their help in stopping vandals who have been driving onto the Rockefeller Lane property and tearing up the fields.
“You may have noticed that, starting last spring, vandals have been driving on the soccer fields at night tearing up the grass and leaving ankle-deep tire impressions,” wrote Mercier. The ruts are a danger to the young children playing on the fields, and repairing them is a waste of club money, he added.
According to Mercier, the repair costs include more than $1,000 of screened topsoil and hours of manual labor by club volunteers to fill the ruts and tamp down the soil. Up until now, the club sought a low-key approach to the crime.
“We just hoped that, like a child if they didn’t get the attention they were looking for, they would move onto something else,” said Mercier. “That passive strategy has obviously not worked.”
“Many times, the field is unplayable until repaired,” Mercier added. “Most of the vandalism comes on Friday nights, which, of course, is an issue with weekend games…. This is a waste and is quite unfortunate. The club is a not-for-profit and has been losing money each year for the past several years, so having to spend valuable resources on this nonsense is infuriating.”
The property on Rockefeller Lane is leased by the soccer club and owned by James Greig. “The Greig family have been incredibly supportive of our program and pledge to host the club for as long as it exists,” said Mercier. This year there are 24 intramural teams and 10 travel teams that use the field for games and practice. The club, in its 19th year, has attracted players from throughout the region, from Hyde Park to Germantown, Pine Plains to Woodstock and Kingston.
Mercier said that law enforcement has been notified and has promised to pay more attention and patrol the area. As for the future,, the club is considering everything from fencing to hidden security cameras as a way to eliminate the problem.
Anyone with information about the vandalism should contact Mercier at email@example.com.