$1M approved for project at Gloversville’s Parkhurst Field

Parkhurst Field – File Photo

JOHNSTOWN – The Fulton County Board of Supervisors Monday voted unanimously to support a $1 million grant to the Parkhurst Field Foundation in Gloversville to jumpstart its “Legends Park at Parkhurst Field” project.

The money is part of the “Destination Fulton County” tourism strategy unveiled in August and uses part of the $10.4 million the county government has been awarded from the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, passed by Congress and signed by President Joe Biden in March.

In August Fulton County Administrator Jon Stead said the county’s revenues held up pretty well during the worst parts of the coronavirus pandemic and county officials essentially view the federal funding as a likely one-time “windfall” allocation of aid that should be spent on economic development projects that will yield long term results that will help increase tax revenues and lessen the current burden on county property taxpayers.

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According to the resolution approved by the board the “Legends Park at Parkhurst Field” project and it’s “associated satellite fields, concession stand, museum and parking lots” have already been designed and preliminary grading/clearing has been started by the non-for-profit Parkhurst Field Foundation.

“The total facility will be a modern Little League Baseball tournament complex with a vintage design that acknowledges its 20th Century History where many Hall of Fame players played minor league baseball and Major League exhibitions,” reads the resolutions, which was sponsored by Northampton Supervisor James Groff.

The resolution spelled out how the funds will be allocated will be split into four $250,000 payments:

• Advance Payment 1 — will be issued upon an invoice/written request from the Parkhurst Field Foundation, subsequent to the Board’s grant approval resolution

• Advance Payment 2 — will be issued upon an invoice/written request from the grantee accompanied by documentation of progress and actual expenses associated with the first payment.

• Advance Payment 3 — will be issued upon an invoice/written request from the grantee accompanied by documentation of progress and actual expenses from the second payment.

• Final payment — will not be an advance, but will be paid upon an invoice/written request from the grantee accompanied by documentation certifying all “Premier Stadium Components” identified in the grant agreement have been purchased and completed.

During the unveiling of the Destination Fulton County plan in August, David Karpinski, the executive director of the Parkhurst Field Foundation, said the $1 million investment from the county is a major step forward for his organization’s estimated $2.3 million capital campaign to build a “Field of Dreams” baseball park at the Parkhurst Field little league park, creating a nationally recognized, lighted, little league park with ultimately five regulation fields, one of them a premier field set up with the same 1906 home plate location of the former A.J&G Park that major league baseball legends Honus Wagner, Cy Young and Moonlight Doc Graham played on.

Karpinski said youth sports in America is a $7 billion industry and he estimates the “Legends Park at Parkhurst Field” will enable the park to host little league tournaments that would bring 16 little league teams per week, about 13 kids per team, every year, from July 4 to Labor Day. He said the average attendance at the games would bring-in about 500 people to the park for every one of those weekly tournaments

“This is truly an economic diamond for this area,” Karpinski said. “It would be 1,800 families coming here from the Northeast corridor. And when you look at the [economic study commissioned by the Parkhurst Field Foundation] you see that about 70 percent of the families that come for the games will stay in hotels, so that’s 350 hotel nights, 85 percent eat at restaurants, 80 percent purchase gas — this field will just have this long-tail of economic activity generated by these baseball tournaments.”

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By Paul Wager