TOWN OF NIAGARA – The Town Board appears to be ready to tell a baseball tournament to “play ball” this summer at Veterans Memorial Park.
Neal Turvey, event coordinator for the “Battle at the Falls,” got the call Thursday at the board work session to schedule the games, which will run five weekends from June to August at the park’s ball diamonds.
The tournament features five games a day, Friday to Sunday, for teams ranging from 9-year-olds to collegiate level and is expected to bring about 400 people a day to the park. Players from the Niagara County Community College team, the Niagara Thunderwolves, will compete, officials said.
Turvey has appeared several times before the board to convince members to give permission. He is trying to bring the games from the eastern end of the county closer to the Fashion Outlets mall, the primary sponsor of the event.
The board members have been reluctant to grant approval because the event takes place during the park’s busiest season. Starting on June 28, the tournament would run every weekend except July 5-7, until Aug. 2.
The community center and shelter are already reserved by groups for events during some of that time period.
“I’m worried about this interfering with other events,” Supervisor Steven Richards told Turvey. He said he was concerned that families with children at the park for parties would be exposed to foul language by the players.
Councilman Marc Carpenter told Turvey that he should consider this first time to be “a trial period.” The request is expected to be approved at the board’s next meeting, on Tuesday.
Richards has not wanted to give up all four baseball diamonds each weekend, so the tournament will use three diamonds the first weekend and one for the remainder of the event.
The cost of clean-up and oversight of the park during the games also was a topic of concern. Richards said he wanted the tournament to pay for any expense the town incurred. Although no total figure was mentioned, the cost of a worker on the Saturday shift plus supplies was tagged at $520 during another meeting. The Saturday games would run from 8:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.
In another matter, the board heard from a representative from AT&T regarding a request to add three antennas to the National Grid tower at 3800 Military Road, to improve 4G data transmissions in the area.
The antennas would weigh about 66 pounds each and stretch 96 inches, but would not add any height to the tower.