Members of the Glen Cove Recreation Commission met in late September with a consulting firm, Sports Facilities Advisory, with which the city is hoping to finalize a $20 million plan to add 8.8 acres to its Maccarone Memorial Stadium, or City Stadium, sports complex.
The plan — which officials were careful to stress was still in its early, exploratory stage — in-cludes, among other improvements, the addition of a multi-use, artificial-turf field on what is now a decommissioned compost yard.
Ken Pilla, who chairs the Recreation Commission and was president of the Glen Cove Junior Soccer League for 10 years, said that Phase 1 of the project includes the field, a playground for athletes’ younger family members, new restrooms and a concession stand.
Phase 2, Pilla added, “would include a complete redesign of the fields. The current fields . . . are kind of outdated, in need of an upgrade.”
Darcy Belyea, who heads the city’s Parks and Recreation department, said that Phase 2 could include a second multi-use field suitable for football, soccer or lacrosse. “It increases the ability to do . . . things we haven’t even thought of before,” she said. “With this layout, you could potentially bring in rugby tournaments, or [marching] band competitions.”
The project would likely be funded by a combination of grants and private investment, Belyea explained. The city wants to bring Sports Facilities Advisory on board, she added, in order to help it secure the private investment, one of the company’s roles as a consultant.
The Sept. 26 meeting and subsequent site visits were meant to help the company decide, in Bel-yea’s words, whether it considered the project “a go, a no-go or a go-maybe.” She clarified that a “go-maybe” would include a list of “tweaks” to the project before SFA would agree to sign on, and said that she believed that would be the most likely designation for the project.
Once the company completes its own analysis, which Belyea expected in the next month or so, she said, “We can then, after having that information, go out with their help to find investors.”
According to a timeline prepared by Ann Fangmann, executive director of the Glen Cove Community Development Agency, the goal is to put the project out for bid by late spring 2019. By then, the city and its partners need to have completed 15 tasks, six of which have been finished thus far, while three are listed as “in progress.” Belyea said that the project has a “drop-dead date” of August 2020.
Pilla said he was excited about the project, not only because of the improved conditions for Glen Cove’s young athletes, but also because the upgraded facilities could be rented out to leagues outside Glen Cove, creating a new stream of revenue for the increasingly cash-strapped city. The goal, he said, is to create a “destination recreation area.”
An example of such a facility is Baseball Heaven, in Yaphank, in Suffolk County, which attracts teams and leagues from all over downstate New York, City Councilman Mike Zangari said. “They’re driving right by us to get there,” he added.
The recreation redevelopment, Pilla said, “could be a perfect tie-in to what’s going on across the creek at Garvies Point,” where construction is under way on a $1 billion, 28-acre luxury residential and shopping community.
Zangari said that the synergy between the sports complex and local businesses would help make the city more attractive to leagues around the area. At other facilities, he said, teams don’t have access to nearby mom-and-pop shops and restaurants. “With us,” he said, “everything is centrally located” — and Glen Cove is the kind of place where teams could come for a game and stay for dinner, a movie, or any of the other attractions in the city.