Field of dreams: Parkhurst Field Foundation to begin $2.3M development plan

PHOTOGRAPHER:
An artist rendering of the The Parkhurst Field Foundation’s capital campaign renovations. (Photo submitted)

GLOVERSVILLE — The Parkhurst Field Foundation will begin its capital campaign this month as it prepares to create a new destination for baseball fans.

The foundation has created a $2.3 million development plan for the 110-year-old field, which saw baseball greats from the early 20th century such as Cy Young and Honus Wagner take the field.

Three phases

Phase one includes the installation of three baseball diamonds instead of the single “senior” field currently in place. Phase two includes installation of replica grandstands on the site similar to what would have been there during the turn of the century. Phase three includes landscaping, parking lot changes and other improvements.

In December, the state Regional Economic Development Council awarded the project $500,000 in a Consolidated Funding Application. The funding is retroactive and will be distributed to the foundation once the project is completed.

Executive Director of the Parkhurst Field Foundation David Karpinski said that this funding was an integral part of getting the project up to the next level.

“Before that it was our hopes and dreams, but now it’s becoming a reality,” Karpinski said. “The thing we need at this point is to get the community behind it from individuals to corporations to

In order to meet its needs, the capital campaign will raise funds before the project gets underway.

That’s where volunteer Joey Caruso will step up to bat.

Caruso, who has raised funds for the St. Jude’s Children’s Research Network and Auriesville Shrine, with be campaign chair for the Parkhurst Field Foundation. Caruso will receive assistance from Ann Malagisi, Campaign Coordinator and Executive Director of Family Leadership Giving at Skidmore College. Andrea McMaster serves as grant writer for the Parkhurst Field Foundation Campaign Board.

He said ideas for the campaign include a radio fundraiser, telethons, as well as baseball and other sports stars coming in for events.

“There is a lot of things that are being talked about and we are looking forward to putting it in the planning stages to make them a reality. It’s going to be fun,” Caruso said.

Caruso said the capital campaign volunteers hopes to have an office in the city to run out of.

“We’ll get some volunteers and staff to start coming to help,” Caruso said.

Caruso said he is hopeful that a groundbreaking could take place by this fall.

He said this is a facility that will be available for children. He said that for many children little league teams are not just a game, but a way of life. He said these fields give kids a place to go and a sense of community.

“I look at it for the betterment of boys and girls in Fulton and Montgomery Counties,” Caruso said. “It has a ripple down effect of being able to use for multiple purposes.”

Caruso said the project will have a ripple effect on the local economy, with out of town families staying in local hotels and eating at local establishments.

Gloversville Little League will use the field during their season. Starting in mid-July and running through Labor Day, the field would be used for travel teams.

Karpinski said out-of-area families would come to the field to play during the travel baseball season. Travel baseball has teams that travel to different areas to play at various fields during the summer.

According to estimates Karpinski gave the Common Council in January, if 16 teams a week are brought in, with 13 players per team and their associated parents, guardian, brothers or sisters, somewhere around 4,000 people could come into the region during that 9 week period”

He said estimates from a Traverse City, Michigan outfit that did projections for the project found that an estimated $1.8 million could be brought in during the travel baseball period.

Mayor Dayton King said the city plans to lend its support to grants that the Parkhurst Foundation seeks for the project. King said that many times state, federal and other grants require the support of the municipality to move forward.

King said the Fulton County Center for Regional Growth revolving loan pool could also play a part in helping the project become a reality.

Karpinski said people can expect to see a list of events announced in the coming weeks for the capital campaign. In addition, mailers and information will likely be going out this month as well.

“We hope to do that inside the next 30 days,” Karpinski said.

Karpinski said a number of local volunteers have helped with the project.

He said Darrin Romeyn, civil engineer, helped draw up the plans. A number of local people also sit on the foundation’s campaign and advisory boards.

“When we put in the CFA we knew it was a unique story and a development story and one of kind. We were very encouraged that we would receive the support,” Karpinski said.

“What has changed and what is tremendous is that with the public announcement from New York State of the $500,000 grant it certainly is making a statement to all our potential donors and supporters that New York State sees this as we saw it all along, as an economic development opportunity for this region and a terrific story and destination for kids from around the country to come to,” he continued

Caruso said he has faith that the project will be able to raise the funds necessary for the plans. He said as the campaign for the Gloversville Public Library shows, people are willing to donate to causes they see as being helpful to their city.

“People believe in what we are doing and see that we’re doing it for the right reasons, for the kids,” Caruso said.

Hall of Fame

Karpinski also recently traveled to the National Baseball Hall of Fame to present the history of the park as well as future plans for the site. He said the group presented to the Society for American Baseball Research.

“It is the top [baseball] researchers in the country,” he said.

Karpinski gave a presentation on Saturday to the group about the history of the field.

“People loved the story and based on the presentation and a lot of them hearing the story for the first time, we were invited to potentially do more of a national approach next year, to be a part of the larger symposiums,” Karpinski said. “Our presentation will be put forth as an applicant to participate in a national symposium. So that was very exciting.”

“What people are really drawn to is that it is the only field in America that exists in which Moonlight Doc Graham played on,” Karpinski said. “In 1906 and 1907 and played seven documented games on these grounds. That is significant.”

According to Parkhurst, Archibald Wright Graham was a right fielder for a single major league game for the New York Giants on June 19, 1905. After playing in the minor leagues for the 1908 season, he completed a medical degree from the University of Maryland and began practicing in Minnesota.

Graham was played by film legend Burt Lancaster in the 1989 motion picture “Field of Dreams.”

Universal Studios has given permission to use the Field of Dreams trademark to the capital campaign to tell the story of the field’s history.

“To my knowledge that’s the only time they’ve ever given permission,” Karpinski said. “But they understand the significance and the connection to the film which make Moonlight Doc Graham a household name.”

For more information about Parkhurst Field and its future development plans go to: www.parkhurstfield.org

Kerry Minor can be reached at [email protected]

By Chad Fleck

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