JOHNSTOWN — A Fulton County government committee on Wednesday endorsed the Parkhurst Field Foundation’s $2.3 million Field of Dreams Campaign in Gloversville.
Action by the Board of Supervisors’ Economic Development and Environment Committee followed a presentation on the campaign by foundation Executive Director Dave Karpinski. The full board will consider voting on supporting the fundraising effort at a later date.
Karpinski spoke of a campaign to improve historic Parkhurst Field on Harrison Street in Gloversville. Construction would take less than 18 months, he said. The park remains the home of the Gloversville Little League, but the plan is to transform into a much larger venture to attract tourists and spectators.
In addition to the funding campaign, the foundation is working with the Fulton County Center for Regional Growth seeking a $500,000 state Consolidated Funding Application for continued development of Parkhurst Field. The field in 2016 received a similar $500,000 CFA award from the state.
“This is a nationally-relevant ballpark,” Karpinski stated.
He said he and others have given two presentations about the field to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown.
Parkhurst Field opened in 1906 as the A, J and G Baseball Park. It was once the home of the professional New York State League JAGS, which stood for Johnstown, Amsterdam, Gloversville. The park was designed by F.L. Comstock and built by L.A. Satterlee. It once featured a 1,500-seat grandstand.
“It was a state-of-the-art facility,” Karpinski said.
Karpinski said immortal baseball players graced the field, including Hall of Famers like legendary pitcher Cy Young in 1906, and Pittsburgh Pirates shortstop Honus Wagner. He said Dr. Archibald “Moonlight” Graham, portrayed by Burt Lancaster in the 1989 film, “Field of Dreams,” played in Gloversville in 1905. He said the local campaign had the trademark slogan, “Field of Dreams,” provided to it by a film studio.
“All these guys came to Gloversville and played at this park,” Karpinski said. “This ballpark is baseball Americana.”
Funds raised through the campaign will go to:
∫Create five regulation, lighted fields capable of hosting Little League teams from around the country.
∫Create a “premier field” on the original 1906 homeplate location of AL&G Park.
∫Create a new 750-seat grandstand.
∫Construct batting cages and modern concession stand.
∫Construct a museum onsite to honor the history of Parkhurst Field and the legendary baseball greats who played there.
Karpinski said the foundation realizes that a refurbished Parkhurst Field won’t be the draw of the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown. But he said there could be great “regional” interest, and Gloversville could even be a tourist stop on the way to Cooperstown. He said such businesses as restaurants could spring up around the park, and the Rail Trail could be a direction connection to downtown Gloversville. He said the spinoff could be an estimated 33 jobs created.
“There is an economic impact to everything about this,” Karpinski said.