By Greg Klein
---- — Teams that wanted to play on Doubleday Field are out, at least for April and possibly longer.
Work is under way on fixing the roofing on the stadium, but there will be more work than anticipated after workers removing the shingles revealed that the field-side wood beams underneath also need to be replaced.
The stadium is already closed for rentals in April, and may need an extra few days of work in May, according to Cooperstown Mayor Jeff Katz.
“That’s my hope,” Katz said. “My gut says we will get it done on time.”
The original plan was to replace the shingles on the roof and some of the wood. However, once the shingles came off, it was clear that the wood beams underneath had rotted and more of them needed to be replaced.
The parking lot side of the wood is in good shape and did not need repairs, according to village officials.
Katz said the original bid for the work, which is being done by Mid-State Industries Ltd. of Schenectady, called for replacing 20 percent of the beams, so replacing all the beams on that side should not add much in either cost or time.
“We aren’t talking about going from 20 percent to 100 percent,” he said. “It is just 100 percent of the one section. That’s about a third of the total area. So really we are just talking about another 12 or 13 percent.
“I wouldn’t think it would take that much longer,” he continued. “We are not talking about another month. The guys are already here up on the roof doing the work. We’re just talking about getting the extra wood and taking a little longer.”
According to Katz, the money for the repairs will come out of the reserve fund. He added that he did not think the field being closed in April would affect revenues, which are tied to the 2012-13 budget and had been accounted for in last year’s projections.
“Mostly in April, the field tends to be used by civic groups, Pony leagues and the high school, and they don’t pay, anyway, if they are from Cooperstown,” he said. “If they are from out of the village they do pay, but those rentals have dropped off as budgets have become tighter.”
Cooperstown normally plays its varsity games at Doubleday Field, but will play its early-season games at the high school instead, according to CCS baseball coach Frank Miosek. Cooperstown has three home games scheduled in April, and two more during the first week of May. The team’s first home game is on April 15 against Mount Markham.
Katz said he regrets the change in venue for the high school team, but didn’t think it was wise to delay the repairs.
“It kind of stinks for them. I understand that,” he said. “In a way, it is like the Walnut Street project. It is always going to affect somebody. One path is to never get things done. I hate to inconvenience everybody, but it is long overdue.
“One of the things we have learned once we got the shingles off, is it looks like that is the original wood. So you are talking about wood that is 70 years old,” he said.
The stadium grandstands at Doubleday Field were built in 1938-1939. A survey of needed repairs also indicated that several steel beams are rusted and need to be replaced. However, Katz said, that money was not in the budget to do those repairs this year.
“The original bid came in at more than $300,000, and there was only about $140,000 in the Doubleday Field fund,” Katz said. “It would be a fairly substantive structural repair. We’ll have to refer it back to the engineer while we figure out the money part of it.”