Ben Vitale Ballfields get a “guiding light”

August 18, 2011 Denise Romano
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Let there be light!

The Ben Vitale ballfields, adjacent to Dyker Beach Park, got a$1.7 million makeover, complete with newly painted bleachers andstate-of-the-art stadium lights. In addition, Field 1A wasdedicated to local youth sports advocate Nick Buff Maglio, whodied in April at the age of 66.

He was someone who brought us so much light and joy, saidKevin Jeffrey, Brooklyn borough parks commissioner of Maglio duringthe lighting ceremony on a sultry Thursday night.

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Maglio was so active in Southwest Brooklyn sports that he signedall his letters, Serving youth through sports. He also coachedformer Met John Franco and former Yankee John Candelaria, revivedthe Brooklyn Kiwanis Sports League and helped launch the BrooklynExtreme Flag Football.

He had in his heart the best interest of the children headvocated for, said Councilmember Vincent Gentile, who donated $1million in funding, which helped pay for the new lights along with$700,000 of capital funding from Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

Gentile stated that safety was Maglio’s biggest concern. Hekept bugging me over and over and over to get lights in thesefields, he said, adding that Maglio also worked to bring backwooden bats instead of aluminum. When the lights go on, they willbe the reflection of the smile he has looking down on us. He willbe our guiding light.

Dozens came to watch the field be lit up for the first time,including representatives and leaders from the Ted Meyerstein /Brooklyn Kiwanis League, Brooklyn Extreme Flag Football, DykerHeights Athletic Association / St. Bernadette Knights, and thesports teams at New Utrecht High School and the High School ofTelecommunications Arts and Sciences – all of whom use the fieldregularly.

After the ceremony, at which Maglio’s wife Carmen helped pullthe lever to light up the night, teams from St. Athanasius and OurLady of Guadalupe played the first ever night game at the BenVitale ball fields. Once the fall comes, football games will beplayed there, too.

There is nothing more important for a neighborhood like thisthan a man like Nick, said Carlo Scissura, chief of staff for theborough president and an area resident. He really was a truelight.

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