December 2, 2021

Homer village approves market survey

Board OKs $30K to study economic feasibility, potential of sports complex

Image provided by Keystone Associates

An artist’s rendering of the original proposed sports complex for the village of Homer. File photo from June 2018.

The village of Homer will spend up to $30,000 for a market study to see whether a $30 million sports complex would be economically feasible and make money.

“This would give us quantitative results for us to provide to grant agencies,” Deputy Mayor Patrick Clune said.

Board members voted, 3-1, Thursday during a special meeting to pay Keystone Associates Architects, Engineers and Surveyors, LLC of Binghamton up to $30,000 for the study. Board member Kevin Slack voted against the survey and Homer Mayor Darren “Hal” McCabe did not attend the meeting in person, but made comments over the phone.

“I think it’s a necessary thing to do,” board member Tim Daley said. “It’s going to help us continue our process with our goal to achieve by doing this.”

“I’m still a little hesitant to spend over $60,000 and have nothing to show for it,” Slack said.

“We have to invest money to make money,” McCabe said over the phone.

The board previously paid Wladis Law Firm more than $20,000 to help with site development plans and the grant application process, McCabe said.

Board member Ed Finkbeiner said the company did not do what the village wanted and the village fired it.

“We fired them because they wereincompetent,” Finkbeiner said.

The proposed $30 million facility and related projects would include a 350,000-square-foot dome for indoor sports, a potential hockey rink, pavilion, Little League field, a football field, a soccer and lacrosse field, boat launches on the Tioughnioga River, a 2-mile walking trail along the river and dog park at Calale Field off Route 281.

The site for the dome and sports fields would be the privately owned 70-acre former Casey Field and the adjacent former Contento scrap yard owned by the Cortland County Industrial Development Agency — both in Cortlandville. The village would buy the Casey Field site for $375,000 and lease the former Contento property.

The study would include a market analysis to see whether the facility would fill a niche. Other sports facilities in Central New York offer space for sporting events such as tournaments or league play.

Work is still ongoing at the 100-acre Gutchess Lumber Sport Complex along Route 13 in Cortlandville.

Once completed the complex will have four baseball diamonds, eight soccer fields and three sand volleyball courts. It would cost between $16 million and $18 million.

Utica got $22 million in state funding in January for a $44 million, 169,440-square-foot Nexus Center sports complex. That center would allow for ice hockey, box lacrosse, soccer and other field sports, according to a news release from Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office.

The Greater Binghamton Sport Complex has six indoor fields, allowing for six soccer games or three softball games, or a full-sized regulation 11- vs. 11-player soccer game.

The facility allows for other sports, like lacrosse and flag football.