BY VINCENT ABBATECOLA
GARNERVILLE – On Wednesday, September 3, the Town of Haverstraw held a breaking-ground ceremony to mark the beginning of construction of new ball fields on a 25-acre lot at the back of Helen Hayes Hospital. Haverstraw Town Supervisor Howard T. Phillips, Jr., New York State Senator William J. Larkin, Jr., and Assemblyman Kenneth Zebrowski were among those in attendance.
“This has been 30 years in the making, and I have to say, without the great assistance, and them being so instrumental, Senator Larkin, Assemblyman Ken Zebrowski and our great governor, Andrew Cuomo, this never would have come to fruition,” said Town Supervisor Phillips. “Today, we get to celebrate the construction of the future ball fields and recreation center of the Town of Haverstraw.”
The plan for the property is to build about four baseball fields, a multi-purpose field, a jogging and walking path around the perimeter, and to also provide a permanent field for the Challenger League, a division of Little League for boys and girls with physical and mental disabilities.
Alyce Ingram, president of Haverstraw Little League and recent recipient of a Woman of the Year Award from New York State, described the importance of the new ball fields in regard to the youths.
“It’s instrumental to our children of Haverstraw Little League,” said Ingram. “We’ve had a lot of bad weather recently, and these fields are going to help in the future with not having to reschedule so many games. The kids have to play until 10:30 at night, and they have school the next morning. So, this will really help in getting more games in.”
Also in attendance was Councilman Vincent J. Gamboli, who was president of Haverstraw Little League in 1978, 1983-1984 and 1986, and has been involved with the planning stages for these ball fields since the ‘80s.
“We started out with 13 acres we were looking for,” said Councilman Gamboli. “We did a preliminary design. I did that years ago, and all we had on it were four ball fields. Through all of this with 25 acres, we’ll be able to do something that the community can be proud of.”
Assemblyman Zebrowski stated, “If there’s anything that living in Rockland County and Haverstraw is about, it’s about giving our kids and our families the ability to play in sports, to have parks and things to go to. It’s that quality of life which I think is so important. If there’s one thing we know is that if kids are on the ball field, they’re not on the streets getting in trouble, so it’s great to have these types of resources.”
Assemblyman Zebrowski then announced that the ball-field construction would receive a state grant for $125,000.