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Wintry Mix,35°
Wednesday, November 26, 2014
Molloy field deal moves forward
Committee approves deal, OKs college’s $1.3 million investment
Christina Daly/Herald
The Nassau County Legislature Rules Committee recently approved the $1.3 million public-private partnership with Molloy College, which will renovate facilities at the Mitchel Field Athletic Complex.

Just two weeks after it had voted to delay the arrangement, the Rules Committee of the Nassau County Legislature voted on March 18 to allow the agreement between the county and Molloy College to rent space at Mitchel Field as well as invest $1.3 million to renovate the complex.

The agreement would allow Molloy to have use of the baseball field at a reduced rate and would give the college first access to it during the softball season from 2 to 6 p.m. during the week and from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturdays for games, all of which would be done by permit. Molloy would pay $20 per hour instead of $40 for the use of the baseball field. If it rented any field other space, the rates would be the same as for everyone else.

“This is another great public-private partnership that improves a public facility at no cost to taxpayers while providing increased access for Nassau County residents,” said County Executive Edward Mangano. “It’s a win-win for the community.”

Under the agreement, Molloy would have its access to the field for 20 years, with the option to extend it for another 10. The county said that plans for the field are being developed, but it would not speculate on when work would begin.

“We were pleased to have Nassau County legislators approve this, and we look forward to seeing this great example of public-private partnerships come to fruition,” said Edward Thompson, Molloy’s vice president for advancement, in a statement to the Herald.

The agreement was initially blocked by the Democratic members of the Rules committee, who felt that the agreement amounted to a lease of county park land, which would have to be approved by the full legislative body as well as New York State.

“New York State Court decisions make it absolutely clear that even a so-called permit that provides exclusive use is an alienation of park land that requires state legislative approval,” Legislator Dave Dennenberg (D-Merrick), who is not a member of the Rules Committee, said in a release two weeks ago. “This 30-year agreement to provide exclusive use of a ball park at Mitchel Field is the same as a lease and therefore an illegal alienation of parkland.”

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