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What you need to know for 01/21/2018

Schenectady Little League fields unused, overgrown

Schenectady Little League fields unused, overgrown

The Little League fields on Fourth Street are hidden under a season’s growth of weeds and grass, and
Schenectady Little League fields unused, overgrown
The Bellevue Little League overgrown with weeds and in disrepair. The ballpark is located off Campbell Ave. in Schenectady.
Photographer: Marc Schultz

The Little League fields on Fourth Street are hidden under a season’s growth of weeds and grass, and no one is coming to cut it any time soon.

The newly merged Schenectady League hasn’t used the Bellevue neighborhood fields at all this year, said league co-President Ryan Pezzano.

And they don’t have enough volunteers to cut the grass and rake the infields if they’re not using the fields, he added.

“Quite honestly, it is very challenging to maintain them,” he said.

Now the Schenectady City Council may consider re-purposing the fields for other sports. Cricket players have asked for more fields, as have soccer teams.

Councilman Vince Riggi said he wants the council to consider those options.

“We can’t just let them be overgrown like that,” he said. “They are on city parkland, and so many people want space.”

He added that he didn’t want to take the land from the league if there were plans to use the fields next year.

“In all fairness to them, volunteers are really hard to come by,” Riggi said.

Pezzano said the league might be willing to let the Bellevue fields go to new users. He said the league had been approached by other leagues last winter, looking for practice space for their travel teams, but the league had hoped it would need the fields for games.

In the end, the league did not get enough players to use every field in the city.

And Pezzano said he doesn’t think baseball will suddenly increase in popularity.

“Will we need all of the fields? Honestly, probably not,” he said. “I would be more than happy to sit down and figure out a plan [with the City Council]. We want to come up with a strategic plan for those fields.”

He, too, has been approached by cricket players, who are looking hopefully at the overgrown fields. And he’s inclined to help them play their game.

“I wouldn’t want it to seem like we’re hoarding fields,” he said.

Riggi said new leagues, for different sports, are probably the answer.

“I think that’s what we have to do,” he said. “Open space is a premium.”

The council could discuss the matter as early as this evening, at its 5:30 p.m. committee meeting at City Hall.

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