PART TWO: DOUBLEDAY FIELD
By JIM KEVLIN • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com
COOPERSTOWN – Future brides, if you dreamed of taking your vows overlooking Doubleday Field and dancing in air-conditioned comfort until the sun comes up, set those dreams aside.
A picnic might be more like it, Mayor Ellen Tillapaugh Kuch suggested this evening at a public hearing on $5.8 million in improvements to Doubleday scheduled to begin this spring.
Plans for a two-story building on the third-base line have been scaled back from a venue for weddings and celebrations to a more modest pavilion that echoes the architecture of the historic 1939 grandstand, the mayor told 30 attendees at the second of two public hearings in the Village Hall Ballroom.
The original plan, with its elegant glassed in reception area, was set aside in the back and forth between the village and the state Office of Parks, Recreation & Historic Preservation, the mayor said. “We’re really excited about it,” she added.
Granted, from the time the first grant for the project was announced on May 21, 2018, the mayor had predicted the final design would be much different, and it is.
State Sen. Jim Seward, R-Milford, provided a $1 million grant for the project, former Assemblyman Bill Magee, D-Nelson, provided another $1 million, and $3 million came from the Empire State Development Corp.
The demolition of the concrete third-base bleachers, which have been closed off with yellow tape for years, will begin this spring, according to an outline the mayor detailed this evening. Construction of the new building and restoration of the grandstand — painting, repairs and additional railings — will occur over the summer and fall.
Not yet bid are the installation of new bleachers, improvements to the field’s drainage — among other things, preventing water from accumulating in the dugouts — and construction of a pedestrian walkway from Main Street to the stadium.
That plan would include wide sidewalks on each side of the entranceway from Main Street, to fans wouldn’t have to walk in the street as they do now. The walkway will continue through the parking lot, leading to sculptor Victor Salvatore’s “Sandlot Kid,” which will be moved from next to Key Bank to in front of the grandstand entrance.
Asked about access from Chestnut Street, the mayor said there is a concept to improve Fowler Way, as the alley is called, but that must await completion of a fund drive to raise an additional $800,000.
Former mayor Jeff Katz, now president of the Friends of Doubleday, displayed pins — 2 inches in diameter — that will be presented to donors of substantial amounts to the fund drive. Among other things, the idea of donating to Doubleday’s restoration will be marketed to Dreams Park families this summer, this said.
Over the winter, the village crew removed the wooden benches that were attached to the concrete risers on the third-base line, and the Friends are planning to sell them as mementos to the public.
DPW Mitch Hotaling has also created a picnic table that uses the former Doubleday planking, and they might be constructed and marketed as part of the fundraising as well.