Schenectady County

County poised to purchase Rotterdam land for ball fields

Schenectady County is taking another swing at buying land to help the Rotterdam Little League fin


Schenectady County is taking another swing at buying land to help the Rotterdam Little League find a permanent home for playing fields.

The county Legislature on Monday will consider a proposal to purchase 8.7 acres on Burdeck and Thompson streets in Rotterdam for $260,000. Local developer Tim Larned owns the property.

County Attorney Chris Gardner said the county will use money the Legislature set aside in 2006 for capital improvements to parks. He said the deal would only be completed after ensuring that wetlands on the property do not interfere with the construction of three regulation Little League fields.

The county also wants to obtain an easement from the town to construct an access road to the fields, Gardner said. “It is exciting. We are bringing this project to a successful conclusion,” he said. “It is not easy to find land in Rotterdam where the Little League has jurisdiction.”

Once the sale is completed, the county would lease the land to the Rotterdam Little League for its use, Gardner said.

League President Robert Caprara said he is happy with the county’s proposal. “Every year we have been playing, we wondered if this would be our last year playing [at the current fields],” he said.

The league is using four fields on Princetown Road for games. Larned owns the land, site of the former Rotterdam Republican Club, and has allowed the Little League to use it for years. But he is now proposing to build 248 apartment units on the 78 acres, which would require the Little League to move at some point. The town has yet to sign-off on Larned’s proposal.

Caprara said Larned assured the Little League it could use the four ball fields until it got the new fields up and running. “A couple of years ago [Larned] told me he was not going to do anything with the land until we had a place to go,” he said.

Caprara said the Little League will play its games at the Princetown Road site this season. The site contains half of the league’s available playing fields.

The property the county intends to buy is across from the Princetown Road site. It once contained softball fields and a driving range, Caprara said.

Caprara said the cost to create three regulation ball fields is about $500,000. “What we are going to do is apply for grants and do whatever it takes. It will take a lot of support from the town, the county, from everyone,” he said. The effort will take at least a year to complete, he said.

The Rotterdam Little League serves about 400 youths between the ages of 4 and 12. It offers T-ball and Little League divisions. Caprara said the league wants to expand to offer baseball to players up to age 19.

In 2006, the county attempted to buy 8.9 acres off Guilderland Avenue near West Ghents Road for the Little League for $260,000. The deal fell through when wet lands on the property prevented the construction of three regulation fields. Larned purchased the Princetown Road property in 2002 for $582,000. He had hoped Wal-Mart would build there, but opposition by residents helped derail the plan.

Gardner said the property is appraised at $600,000. Larned plans to seek a state and federal charitable contribution of $340,000, the difference between the appraised value and the purchase price, he said.

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