September 28, 2021

C’ville plans for Gutchess park expansion project

Photo provided by Cortland Youth Bureau

The Gutchess Lumber Sports Park is shown above in its current state. Cortlandville is getting Phase 2 of the project underway, which will include adding two baseball diamonds, more parking and grading.

The town of Cortlandville is moving ahead with design of the second phase of construction on Gutchess Lumber Sports Park.

Phase 2 will include construction of two baseball diamonds, additional parking, grading and a building that would include a press box, locker rooms and a concession stand, board member Doug Withey said Wednesday.

The town board authorized on July 21 spending up to $10,000 to clear the way for the project at the park off Route 13 near the southwest corner of the town. The first phase, completed in 2019, included two baseball diamonds, restrooms and a parking lot.

The town is trying to complete the two new artificial turf fields by June because the Prep Baseball Report, a youth baseball group that is among the groups that rents the fields, wants to use them next year, Withey said.

Withey, who is running for town supervisor as a Democrat, said the state will require a cost-benefit analysis of the project and he questioned whether the complex will ever break even.

Town Supervisor Tom Williams, a Republican running for re-election, could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

The town is building Gutchess Lumber Sports Park in phases as funding becomes available.

Original costs for the complex ranged between $15 million to $18 million with the ultimate goal of having four baseball fields and a dozen multi-use fields for sporting events like soccer and lacrosse, former Supervisor Richard Tupper said in 2017.

Priorities for construction will be based on municipality interest, said Machell Phelps, the executive director of the Cortland Regional Sports Council.

Phelps said multi-purpose fields for soccer and other sports were in the original plans and were expected to be included in Phase 2, but the baseball fields are taking precedent.

“A lot of it will be driven by the community,” she said.

The town board also approved a half-mile trail through private property leased by the town to connect Gutchess Lumber Sports Park to trails owned by Cortland County and Lime Hollow Nature Center.

This work is a priority for the town to provide a new home for the Homer Central High School cross-country team for its fall season, Phelps said.

The town on July 21 also discussed plans for building at the sports complex horseshoe pits and courts for pickleball and bocci, Williams said at the meeting.

The city of Cortland Youth Bureau coordinates scheduling for fields. Youth Bureau Director John McNerney referred questions about field construction plans to the town.