Mounds of dirt remain piled on the land designated for a new ball field complex for the Rotterdam Little League.
Last summer, some had hoped the four fields and concession stand for the league would be completed for this season. But with the league’s play now under way, those hopes are all but dashed.
“They’re not going to be ready,” County Attorney Chris Gardner said of the fields Tuesday.
And that’s of little surprise, considering the 9 acres designated for the fields behind the Rotterdam sewage plant off West Campbell Road isn’t yet graded or seeded. This preliminary work needed to be completed last fall for the league to have any chance of using the fields this spring.
But this time, Gardner said, the delay in building the fields has nothing to do with the county or the developer still planning to sell the property for the fields. In July, he said, the county signed an agreement with Timothy Larned and the league allowing them to start work on the fields in advance of the county closing on the property.
Yet little site work occurred in the months since. Gardner said the county will close on the property shorty and it’s now up to the league to live up to its end of the deal and build the fields. “They could start working on the fields right now if they want to,” he said.
The league appears to be using its old fields off Princetown Road, but it’s unclear whether it will have access to a concession stand. The old concession stand lost its power supply after Larned began preparing that property for a 248-unit apartment complex last summer.
League officials voiced concern about not being able to sell the normal amount of concession offerings this year. They indicated that the league previously generated 90 percent of its concession income — or about $25,000 — from games at the three ball fields.
Attempts to contact league officials and Larned were unsuccessful Tuesday.
Larned still hasn’t received a permit to begin constructing the apartment buildings. Town Supervisor Harry Buffardi said work on the project isn’t expected to begin until after the Little League’s season ends later this spring. “That’s what I’ve been led to understand,” he said.
The delays, however, have also allowed discussions to continue over installing a new 12-inch sewer line from the development to the town’s sewage treatment plant. The main would travel up Burdeck Street and connect to Techfibers Inc., the British specialty paper manufacturer that purchased the building once occupied by Vstream Manufacturing.
The initial town approval of Larned’s apartment complex indicated the developer would install a much smaller sewer line that would connect only his property to the sewer plant. Buffardi said a deal was reached between the town, county and developer over the past month that will both serve the needs of the apartment complex and of Techfibers, and allow for future connections that could spur growth along the Burdeck Street corridor.
A building permit for the apartments could be issued within the month. Now Buffardi is hoping the field project can also get moving, so the fields the league has sought for so many years can finally get built.
The fields were once proposed for an area across the street from the Rotterdam Square mall, before state officials ruled the deed restrictions on the town-owned land would prohibit such development. Several years later, county officials signed an option to buy land on Guilderland Avenue, only to realize that the amount of wetlands on the property would make it impossible to build the four fields needed by the league.
“I’m anxious to see it get going,” Buffardi said of the field project. “There’s been a lot of controversy over it.”