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News of Otsego County

Cooperstown Dreams Park

Otsego Looks Outdoors
With Another Tourism Season In Doubt

Otsego Looks Outdoors

By GREG KLEIN • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

Lori Paparteys and her dog, Bailey, pose during their Otsego Octet Ultra Challenge. Paparteys and Bailey completed the trail challenge in one day.

With tourism dealt another pandemic-related blow last week, Otsego County’s leaders are increasingly turning to outdoor adventures to lure visitors.

“We’re actually in the process right now of trying to launch a massive campaign to tout our outdoor adventure,” said Cassandra Harrington, executive director of Destination Marketing Corporation, which promotes tourism in Otsego and Schoharie counties.

Harrington said the tourism news has been mostly dismal in the week since Cooperstown Dreams Park announced it would require all teams playing at the park’s summer tournaments to be vaccinated for the coronavirus pandemic. The uncertainty of getting vaccinations for children and a hard refund deadline has left dozens of teams in a catch-22, leading to hundreds of reported cancellations.

23 fifth grade students from Milford Central School also completed the Otsego Octet Challenge from Otsego Outdoors.

The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum’s winter announcement that it was moving its postponed 2020 Induction Weekend to a virtual event, had already crushed pre-pandemic hopes for a record sized crowd for Derek Jeter’s induction.

However, the reopening of the baseball parks, Dreams Park in Hartwick Seminary and Cooperstown All-Star Village in West Oneonta, was a big pillar of the county’s hopes for a renewed summer of tourism. All-Star Village has not announced similar vaccination requirements for its teams, but the Dreams Park changes make its June opening unlikely, Harrington said.

“Now that the bottom fell out with Dreams Park, our accommodations are dealing with a flood of cancellations,” she said. “So, we really need those outdoor visitors more than ever.”

PLIMPTON: Dreams Park Orders C-19 Shots – For 12-Year-Olds?
LETTER from JODI PLIMPTON-WERSTEIN

Dreams Park Orders C-19

Shots – For 12-Year-Olds?

To the Editor:

Otsego County wants its 12-year-olds back. But the question of the day is: Are they too young to be vaccinated?

Last week, parents of athletes looking to attend the Cooperstown Dreams Park experience this summer, were notified that in order to participate, they will be requiring proof of vaccination for anyone 12 years old and up. Anyone under 12 years old, simply has to provide proof of negative test (however, they did not give a timeframe for how recent that test needed to be).

As you can imagine, there is MASSIVE backlash from parents for this decision, and timing of notification, as well as the numerous things grossly wrong with these requirements. First, and foremost, there is not even a vaccine available or approved for use in anyone under the age of 16. At this point, there is only ONE vaccine available for 16- to 18-year-olds, and ZERO available for anyone younger than that. So, they are putting a requirement for play, that is completely unattainable. That’s like saying the grass needs to turn purple in order for anyone to be able to attend. Those that were able to get through to CDP yesterday, and speak to someone about this egregious plan, state that CDP told them that they will be taking the summer on a week by week basis, and if the vaccine isn’t available for an upcoming week, then they will simply cancel that week and move onto the next one.

Leaving people out all of their entry money, travel expenses, lodging expenses etc, and they claim that they are FIRM on this policy.

Baseball Camps Wait For Albany Guidance

Baseball Camps Wait

For Albany Guidance

Quarantine Rules Also Turn Off Some Families

By JIM KEVLIN • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

COOPERSTOWN – Health and wealth.

Those are the two concepts people in government and the tourist industry are using in discussing the news that the two youth-baseball camps, Dreams Park in Hartwick Seminary and All Star Village in West Oneonta, are seeking permission to open someway, somehow, in the 2021 season.

“If they can conform to the state’s requirements and do it safely, they should be allowed to open,” said Cooperstown Mayor Ellen Tillapaugh Kuch. Others interviewed echoed her sentiment.

Dreams Park is planning to extend its season from May to September, with fewer players, who would stay on-campus, as in the past.  (Early, it was incorrectly reported that the players would stay off-campus.)

All must present negative COVID tests on arrival. Dreams Park’s local lawyer, Gar Gozigian, is looking for state Health Department guidance and permission to proceed.

All Star Village issued a more general statement, saying it would implement all health and safety measures, and concluding, “As things change we are confident restrictions will expire and we will update.”

Author, Editor To Discuss Dream’s Park Experience

MIKE BROWN PUBLISHES ‘UMP’S BUNKHOUSE’

Author, Editor To Discuss

Dream’s Park Experiences

Mike Brown, local sportswriter and editor in the 1980s, will be in the county tomorrow and Wednesday promoting his new book, “The Umpire’s Bunkhouse: Baseball Stories from Cooperstown’s Dreams Park.”  From working for a local newspaper, Mike went on to found his own local sports newspaper, “The Sporting Edge.”  Moving away to pursue other opportunities, he ended his career as spokesman for the Ohio Board of Regents, and the past few years has umped at Cooperstown Dreams Park, which inspired his new book.  At 3 p.m. Tuesday, Mike will be at F.R. Woods’ Book Nook, 61 Main St., Cooperstown, discussing his book informally with patrons, and will continue to do so 4-8 p.m. at The Otesaga.  Wednesday morning, he will be at the Green Toad Book Store, 198 Main St., Oneonta.  See an excerpt from “Umpire’s Bunkhouse” in this week’s editions of The Freeman’s Journal and Hometown Oneonta. (Jim Kevlin/AllOTSEGO.com)
At All-Star Village, No Closing Planned – At Least For Now

TASK FORCE CHAIRMAN SAYS:

At All-Star Village,

No Closing Planned

– At Least For Now

Marty Patton

COOPERSTOWN – County Emergency Task Force chairman Allen Ruffles today said he has been assured by Marty Patton, owner of Cooperstown All-Star Village in West Oneonta, that there are no plans to cancel the summer season, at least for now.

All-Star Village – as well at Coopertown Dreams Park in Hartwick Seminary, which Friday announced it is cancelling it 2020 season – together fuel the county’s youth-baseball camp sector, which together inject millions of dollars annually into the local economy.

DREAMS PARK CLOSES FOR 2020 SEASON

Facility Offered To Bassett

DREAMS PARK

CANCELLING

2020 SEASON

By LIBBY CUDMORE • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

COOPERSTOWN – Citing the “best interest” of community, employees and traveling players and families, Cooperstown Dreams Park has announced it will be closed for the 2020 season.

“Cooperstown Dreams Park was hoping to avoid this outcome,” says a letter on its website. “But it is the only responsible course of action.”

All teams will receive a 100 percent refund or the option of future participation, and employees will remain at work “to the extent permitted by the mandates of Governor Cuomo.”

Bryce Harper Signs 13-Year Deal With Phillies

FROM DREAMS PARK TO FORTUNE

Bryce Harper Signs

Record $330-Million

Contract With Phillies

Bryce Harper has plenty to smile about – he just signed a $330 million dollar contract with the Phillies.

Baseball star Bryce Harper, now 26, who played at Cooperstown Dreams Park in 2003-05, has just signed a 13-year, $330-million contract with the Philadelphia Phillies, the largest contract in MLB and pro-sports history.

FOR DETAILS FROM MLB.COM, CLICK HERE

THE LOU PRESUTTI STORY, IN FREEMAN’S, HOMETOWN

THE LOU PRESUTTI STORY

IN FREEMAN’S, HOMETOWN

Read the first definitive piece on Louis A. “Coach” Presutti II, the man who changed Otsego County before his unexpected death Wednesday, July 6, in this week’s editions of The Freeman’s Journal and Hometown Oneonta. From the time he first visited the Hall of Fame at age 5 or 6, he was inspired by his father’s message: Every boy should have a chance to play baseball in Cooperstown. After a career in business, Lou Presutti made that dream come true in 1996, 20 years ago this year, when he founded Cooperstown Dreams Park in a field in Hartwick Seminary, and – as the enterprise grew, attracting tens of thousands of young baseball players from across the country – nothing remained the same in northern Otsego County and Greater Oneonta. AVAILABLE AT THESE FINE ESTABLISHMENTS TODAY
Read the first definitive piece on Louis A. “Coach” Presutti II, the man who changed Otsego County before his unexpected death Wednesday, July 6, in this week’s editions of The Freeman’s Journal and Hometown Oneonta. From the time he first visited the Hall of Fame at age 5 or 6, he was inspired by his father’s message: Every boy should have a chance to play baseball in Cooperstown. After a career in business, Lou Presutti made that dream come true in 1996, 20 years ago this year, when he founded Cooperstown Dreams Park in a field in Hartwick Seminary, and – as the enterprise grew, attracting tens of thousands of young baseball players from across the country – nothing remained the same in northern Otsego County and Greater Oneonta.

AVAILABLE AT THESE FINE ESTABLISHMENTS TODAY

Lou Presutti, 75; Lifelong Quest Led To Dreams Park
IN MEMORIAM

Lou Presutti, 75; Lifelong

Quest Led To Dreams Park

Louis A. Presutti II
Louis A. “Coach” Presutti II

Editor’s Note:  This is Mr. Presutti’s official obituary, prepared by Guenther Funeral Home in Olean.

COOPERSTOWN – Louis A. “Coach” Presutti II, 75, of Salisbury, N.C., Cooperstown Dream Park founder, died peacefully Wednesday, July 6, 2016, in Cooperstown.

Born and raised in Olean, the son of Louis and Lena DiCerbo Presutti, Louis attended Olean High School before enlisting and serving in the Army for four years.

Presutti Dreamed Of Parks Across U.S.

FROM OUR ARCHIVES

Lou Presutti Dreamed

Of Parks Across Nation

In 2010, Lou Presutti II credited his wife, Linda, with helping him achieve his lifelong dream: Cooperstown Dreams Park. (Jim Kevlin/AllOTSEGO.COM)
In 2010, Lou Presutti II credited his wife, Linda, with helping him achieve his lifelong dream: Cooperstown Dreams Park. (Jim Kevlin/AllOTSEGO.COM)

Editor’s Note: This profile of Lou Presutti II and report on his vision of founding youth-baseball parks nationwide appeared in The Freeman’s Journal on June 17, 2010. The dream was never realized, but Cooperstown Dreams Park continued to flourish and grow up until the time of Mr. Presutti’s death on Wednesday afternoon.

By JIM KEVLIN

COOPERSTOWN – Fifteen-hundred young baseball players will be converging on the Cooperstown region every week through Labor Day.

Over the 13 weeks, the Cooperstown Dreams Park players and their families – more than 60,000 people in all – will fill the region’s hotels, pack the restaurants and make cash registers ring along Baseball’s Main Street.

For 14 years, this has been a unique Otsego County experience, but the experience is about to go nationwide.

In an interview, Dreams Park owner Lou Presutti II said his organization has reached agreement with the City of Newberry, Fla., to begin construction of a second, 16-field Nation’s Park this fall.

Crowd At Today’s Viewing

Crowd At Today’s Viewing

For Dreams Park’s Presutti

Lou Presutti – "coach," and he was known to the tens of thousands of youngsters who competed at Dreams Park over the years, poses with an attendee.
Lou Presutti – “coach,” and he was known to the tens of thousands of youngsters who competed at Dreams Park over the years, poses with an attendee.

COOPERSTOWN – Private calling hours for Cooperstown Dreams Park founder Lou Presutti, 75, who passed away Wednesday afternoon, July 6, at the Hartwick Seminary facility, are underway at this hour at the Tillapaugh Funeral Home.

Word is that Mr. Presutti passed away while taking a nap.

While private, a substantial crowd had appeared for the viewing, including a substantial part of the Dream Park staff.  The phones were not being answered at the park at this hour; this is also the shift day, when this week’s Dreams Park players have departed, and next week’s have not yet arrived.

Lou Presutti II

IN MEMORIAM

Lou Presutti II

Cooperstown Dreams Park Founder

This portrait of Lou Presutti accompanied a piece on ESPN.com in 2013.
This portrait of Lou Presutti accompanied a piece on ESPN.com in 2013.

COOPERSTOWN – Word is circulating that Lou Presutti II, 75, who founded Cooperstown Dreams Park 20 years ago and changed the economy of northern Otsego County, has passed away.

Matt Hazzard, executive director of the Cooperstown Chamber of Commerce, posted this tribute on Facebook:

“Hard to hear of the death of Cooperstown Dreams Park owner Lou Presutti. Umpired there for a couple years and he treated me very well. A strong supporter of the Cooperstown Chamber, his vision has left a lasting impression on Cooperstown and our region. RIP ‪#‎wearecooperstown

On Twitter, and Bryce Harper, a Dreams Park graduate who is now playing for the Washington Nationals, has posed a tribute on Instagram.

300+ Survivors March In Today’s Relay For Life

WATCH SLIDE SHOW ON TODAY’S WALK

300+ Survivors March

In Today’s Relay For Life

Holding the banner at today's Cooperstown/Northern Otsego Relay For life are, from right, survivors Ed Bellow and Jim Domion, both of Richfield Springs, and Michael Hall, West Oneonta. At the far end is Helen Gregory, executive director of the local chapter of the American Cancer Society. The Relay continues until 10 p.m. at Cooperstown Dreams Park in Hartwick Seminary. (Jim Kevlin/AllOTSEGO.com)
Holding the banner at today’s Cooperstown/Northern Otsego Relay For life are, from right, survivors Ed Bellow and Jim Domion, both of Richfield Springs, and Michael Hall, West Oneonta. At the far end is Helen Gregory, executive director of the local chapter of the American Cancer Society. More than 300 survivors are scheduled to participate, Gregory said.  The Relay continues until 10 p.m. at Cooperstown Dreams Park in Hartwick Seminary. (Jim Kevlin/AllOTSEGO.com)
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