By JAMES A. ELLIS/For The Leader-Herald
BROADALBIN — Rain Saturday did little to dampen the spirits on opening day for Broadalbin-Perth Little League.
Hosted by the Broadalbin Youth Commission, teams gathered under the Lions Club Pavilion to receive their uniforms and to be introduced to the member families of the organization.
During the ceremonies, Keith Buchanan, representing the Broadalbin Youth Commission, presented Councilman David Bogardus, who was representing the town of Broadalbin at the ceremonies, with a check for $25,000 toward the construction of the new Union Mills Road facility.
Watching the ceremony take place brought a dream to reality for the Higgins family.
“When my wife Theo [Theodora Higgins] was in charge of the Broadalbin Youth Commission her dream was to build something like this,” Jim Higgins Sr. said. “That was 33 years ago when Jim Jr. was seven and, now, they finally have the park. Every year they do the fundraisers, hold a golf tournament and stuff like that to help the taxpayers. They picked up the bond but we pay the interest and stuff like that.”
The Youth Commission conducted a grand opening for the new multi-purpose facility last year and conducted its first opening day ceremonies for the Little League this year.
The Youth Commission also maintains Little League fields at the First Avenue facility in the village of Broadalbin to accommodate the 15 baseball and softball teams. The Union Mills Road facility is also home to the commission’s youth soccer program.
“This is a dream come true for us,” Jim Higgins Sr. said. “We got a grant from the state but had to raise $500,000 ourselves. We got the park thanks to a lot of volunteers.”
The Higgins family has stayed involved with the commission, as Jim Higgins Jr. and his wife Nicole remain involved as coaches and on the board for the Little League in which their two children play.
“Theo passed away 10 years ago from cancer, and never saw this happen,” Jim Higgins Sr. said. “Now it is happening with a lot of help from Keith Buchanan and fundraisers and we finally got it. It took a long, long time, but we finally got it and will hopefully keep it going.”