Saratoga Springs’ collegiate baseball team plans to build a $450,000 stadium at Veterans Memorial Park on Geyser Road later this year and turn its ownership over to the city.
Saratoga Brigade would pay to build the 250-seat stadium in the city-owned park and then give it to the city, said Dan Scaring, managing partner of the team with Keith Rogers.
The team, which is in the New England Collegiate Baseball League, is playing this summer at East Side Recreation Field, where its predecessor, the Saratoga Phillies, started in 2004 as a member of the New York Collegiate Baseball League.
Scaring and Rogers founded the Phillies and in 2010 moved the team to Oneonta. Then in December, they sold the Oneonta Outlaws to another owner and started the Saratoga Brigade this year to bring a baseball team back to Saratoga Springs.
With the new facility, Scaring and Rogers want to elevate the team’s physical home to match its quality of play.
“It’s a very, very high level of baseball,” Scaring told the Saratoga Springs City Council on Tuesday during a presentation about the team’s plans. “We’re the second-best league in the country.”
Six former Saratoga Phillies are now on the major-league rosters, he said.
Because it would be a public facility, the new stadium would be available for Saratoga Central Catholic High School’s baseball team as well as other groups, Scaring said. Saratoga Brigade plays 24 home games and doesn’t expect to overlap much with Spa Catholic’s season, he said.
“It’s not just ours exclusively at all,” he said.
The owners will replace the temporary bleachers at Veterans Memorial Park with permanent stadium seating behind home plate, swap out the current wooden dugouts for cinder block ones, put in a higher backstop and install high nets that will keep everyone safe. The two-story, 1,800-square-foot stadium structure will include concessions, locker rooms and a press box.
“It’s going to be awesome,” Scaring said. “We hope that building a new facility will bring more people out to embrace what we’re trying to do.”
He hopes to start construction in late August and complete the facility by fall; it would then be open for the high school baseball season’s April start next year.
Admission to Brigade games will continue to be free, Scaring said: “It’s always been about baseball. It’s never been about the money.”
The City Council set a public hearing on the project for 6:55 p.m. Aug. 20. The proposal still needs city approval to move forward.
“It looks very promising,” Mayor Scott Johnson said.
Also Tuesday, the City Council voted unanimously to sign two sales agreements with Habitat for Humanity to sell the nonprofit organization two properties that Habitat would develop for workforce housing in the city.
The city previously retained ownership of the properties at 26 Cherry St. and 195 Division St. when it sold off several properties that were delinquent on property taxes and is selling those properties to Habitat for Humanity for $1 each.
The Division Street property is a 0.14-acre vacant lot that was owned by a W. Gregory when the city seized it for unpaid taxes in September 2011, according to county property records.
The 0.17-acre Cherry Street property has a two-story house on it, which would be demolished to build a new home, City Attorney Matthew Dorsey said. That property was formerly owned by Ellsworth Ice Cream Co.
Habitat would build the homes and then select homeowners to take ownership of them based on income guidelines.
A clause in the contracts says that “in the event that Habitat does not sell this property to an eligible prospective homeowner within three years … that property will revert back to the city, including any improvements that may be on it at that time,” Dorsey said.
The City Council also voted Tuesday to make part of Regent Street a one-way street when school starts in September.
The portion near Lake Avenue Elementary School from Mulqueen Lane to Lake Avenue will be a one-way street with only northbound traffic in the mornings and afternoons when children are arriving and departing from school, officials said.