Volunteer effort launched to fix New Suffolk’s ballfield

Civic president Paul Cacioppo at the New Suffolk ballfield Thursday. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch)
Civic president Paul Cacioppo at the New Suffolk ballfield Thursday. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch)

New Suffolk Civic Association members have launched a volunteer effort to restore their neighborhood baseball field in hopes of having Little League games return to the waterfront community’s lone green space.

During the New Suffolk school board’s meeting Tuesday, civic president Paul Cacioppo said his group and other residents have been saddened by the field’s sorry state. He said the civic group has volunteers lined up to turn it back into a regulation field, as well as a nice green space residents can enjoy.

Mattituck-Cutchogue Little League, which includes New Suffolk players, now compete in Laurel because New Suffolk’s field, which is between 3rd and 4th streets, across from New Suffolk Elementary School, is in “such poor condition,” Mr. Cacioppo said.

“There are over 120 players in the league,” he said. “There’s a tremendous need based upon what the community has been asking for to redo the ballfield. We would do it at no cost to the taxpayer or district.”

School board president Tony Dill said the league had donated benches and fencing, and maintained the ballfield until it stopped using it a couple of years ago.

In addition to restoring the baseball diamond, Mr. Cacioppo said his group’s plan includes installing a barrier fence along the field’s perimeter.

He and several residents at last week’s meeting also said they’d like the school district to no longer grant the New Suffolk Waterfront Fund and others permission to use the field as a parking area for events.

School board president Tony Dill, who confirmed the waterfront fund has permission to use the field for two events this summer, said he believes the district can’t deny anyone to use the property unless a vote is held and the community approves banning events.

“Whether that’s true, I don’t know, but that’s one of the things we can look into over the next month,” he said. “It’s never come up before. We’ve never been in a position where we banned activity.”

Pat McIntyre, president of the Waterfront Fund, said after the meeting that her group supports the idea of restoring the baseball diamond area, but doesn’t believe a fence should be erected to prevent parking.

If the baseball diamond were restored, Ms. McIntyre said parking could be blocked off with traffic cones.

“We’ve never done any damage to the ballfield,” she said. “We respect it, too.”

As the district continues to research its options, Mr. Cacioppo is expected to submit a formalized proposal of the restoration efforts.

The earliest time the school board could discuss the matter again is at its next meeting on June 9 at 7 p.m.

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