Schenectady County

Rotterdam Little League frustrated at delay in building fields

Rotterdam Little League lost roughly 90 percent of its concession income as a result of playing ball

Rotterdam Little League lost roughly 90 percent of its concession income as a result of playing ball on its old fields off Princetown Road this spring.

Crews preparing to demolish the old Rotterdam Republican Club in April needed to remove the dilapidated structure’s power supply, which fed the league’s concession stands. As a result, the league went the duration of the season with only a fraction of the concessions normally offered at games.

League President Matthew Rash said some drinks were sold from iced coolers, but ultimately, he estimated the league lost roughly $25,000 as a result of the seemingly stalled Schenectady County project to build new fields on nine acres behind the town’s sewage treatment plant on West Campbell Road.

“This constitutes a major portion of the money we need to run the league,” he told members of the Town Board during their meeting Wednesday. “Imagine running the town without 90 percent of the budget and without a town hall.”

Rash and about a dozen others from the league voiced their frustration over the lack of progress toward building a new home for the league. And while they didn’t expressly blame the town for the delays, they pleaded with board members to help finally start construction on the long-awaited fields.

“A new home has been found for the league, but it’s just out of reach,” he said.

The league’s season wraps up this week, with its last games at the old fields scheduled for Friday. Rash said if work doesn’t start on the new ones soon, he fears they may not be completed in time for the 2013 season.

“If we don’t have grass seed down by the fall, there’s no way we can play in the spring,” he said.

County officials announced plans for the new fields in April 2011 after nearly five years of searching for a site. Developer Timothy Larned agreed to sell land off West Campbell Road to the county for the new fields so that he could build a 248-unit apartment complex on the 71.8-acre site containing the old ones.

Work on the fields was supposed to begin last summer, allowing the league to open its 2012 season at the new complex. Only negotiations over a sewer line proposal for the apartment complex stalled the town’s issuance of a building permit for the apartment project — a contingency for the sale of the property needed for the fields.

The Schenectady Metroplex Development Authority wanted to stretch a 24-inch trunk line from the sewer plant to the vicinity of Princetown Road. With the extension in place, county and town officials would then work on a second phase that would bring the sewer line to an area near Burdeck Street’s intersection with Mariaville Road.

At issue is the location of the infrastructure needed for the sewer line, which would also feed the development. Larned’s attorneys want the infrastructure placed on town or county property.

Ultimately, the developer could choose to create a self-contained sewage system that wouldn’t have the size or connection sought by the county. Town officials have already approved plans for such a system.

“[Larned] remains committed to the Little League kids and he’s doing everything he’s been asked to do through this process,” said Andrew Brick, one of the developer’s attorneys.

County leaders remain confident that the deal to transfer the property for the new fields will be completed shortly. County Attorney Chris Gardner said a closing on the deal should come with plenty of time to build the four new fields.

“There should be plenty of time to get construction under way,” he said. “From here on out, it should be clear sailing.”

Town Supervisor Harry Buffardi echoed this sentiment in comments to members of the league attending Wednesday’s meeting. He said the town remains committed to ensuring the league has its fields by next season.

“I see no reason for panic at this point.”

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