MALTA – The Town Board voted unanimously Wednesday to enter an inter-municipal cooperation agreement with the Village of Round Lake to partially fund improvements to the Dominick F. Pasquarell Park.
The decision was made during a joint meeting with the Village of Round Lake Board of Trustees. Lori Sievers, president of Round Lake-Malta Youth Baseball, gave a presentation outlining plans to add an additional baseball field at the park for the league.
According to Sievers, the co-ed recreational league for children from 4 to 10 years old had approximately 110 players last year. Registration for the upcoming season is open now and Sievers is expecting the number of players to increase over last year.
Sievers described the league saying, “The league, I think, really does a nice job of filling a void in our area. We have so many opportunities for sports, but this league is really a truly recreational league.”
“It’s very accessible for players, we make it easy for the parents and I think that’s a really important thing for young players to be able to feel that, even if they aren’t at the top of their athletic abilities in comparison to their peers, that there are opportunities for them to engage in these team sports in a truly recreational way,” she said.
Currently there are three baseball fields at Dominick F Pasquarell Park in Round Lake where the baseball league plays. The largest field is sized for high school age youths and is too large for the younger players in the recreational league.
Each year a small baseball field is cut in the grass on the west side of the park for the 4- to 5-year-old t-ball players. The third field features adjustable 60- to 70-foot baselines and is the main field used by the league.
Having a single field for the majority of the teams places it in high demand. During the season teams do not hold practices on the field as it is used six days a week for games. Games that are cancelled due to rain cannot be rescheduled and the size of the field is challenging for the 6- and 7-year old’s in the league.
“If you’ve ever coached that age, they just can’t make that throw from first to third [base]. It’s just far too long of a distance for them to cover,” Sievers said. “It can be discouraging, it can be difficult, you’re trying to make the kids overthrow.”
Sievers added that the tendency for children in that age range to overthrow takes away from their ability to develop accuracy and the skills of baseball and could promote injuries, although no injuries have occurred so far.
Peak Environmental, a landscape construction and management company that previously completed drainage work at the baseball fields, estimated the cost of constructing the field to be just over $82,000.
Approximately $49,000 would go towards the field itself, including grading the field, cutting the baselines, the dirt for the pitcher’s mound and drainage work. The remaining cost would be for fencing along the first and third baselines, a raised backstop fence behind home plate and dugouts utilizing wood, fencing and metal roofs.
“What we told them when we were designing the field is, ‘We want nothing fancy, but we want a safe playing surface for the kids.’ We don’t want people twisting their ankles because it is poorly designed. We want to make sure it has been carefully planned out and that we use the appropriate materials,” Sievers said.
The league currently has roughly $22,000 for the project. Sievers said the league’s board of directors has voted to use their $10,000 in reserve funds for the project. The GlobalFoundries-Malta Foundation awarded the league a $7,224 grant for the project and Stewart’s Shops will donate $5,000 to the league to mark the grand opening of the new Maltaville location.
Not included in the estimate is the cost of professional fees for consulting and land surveying, which Sievers approximated to be $5,000, and the cost for expanding the parking lot. The league is still discussing options for the parking lot and had previously provided an estimate of $7,200 for paving materials.
Round Lake Mayor Dixie Lee Sacks asked if the cost of the project could be reduced using in kind services from the Department of Public Works. Sievers said it may be possible, especially for work on the parking lot, but those details would need to be worked out with Peak Environmental.
Following the presentation, “I’m navigating the world of youth sports now, too,” Town Board Member Maggi Ruisi said after the meeting. “I love what you said about being a true rec league, I think that’s something that this area really needs and I love that it’s growing and that it’s growing here.”
The inter-municipal cooperation agreement passed by the Town Board acknowledges that the Dominick F Pasquarell Park and Round Lake-MaltaYouth Baseball serve residents of both the village and the town.
Under the agreement, the town will pay either 15 percent of the total project cost or $15,000, whichever is lower. Payment for the project will come from the town’s recreation mitigation fund and is due upon completion of the project.