County casino grant pursued for Outwater ball field

JOED VIERA/STAFF PHOTOGRAPHERLockport High School senior Rynier Clinton, right, slides safely into home plate during a recent Niagara Frontier League game with Niagara Falls at Outwater Park.

Outwater Park’s deteriorating baseball diamond could get a makeover, using casino cash, if the Niagara County Legislature approves the project on May 24.

This week, the legislature’s Economic Development Committee recommended a measure that would award $10,000 of the county’s casino fund for refurbishment of the diamond. The work, which was bid at $17,088, would consist of rebuilding the home plate and pitcher’s mound, widening the base paths and laser-grooming the remainder of the field.

The measure also says the city parks department and school district will cover some of the cost.

The field is home to the Lockport High School baseball team and several tournament teams.

The resolution was proposed by Lockport-area legislators William J. Collins, Anthony Nemi and Keith McNall, legislature chairman.

Collins said he has coached baseball at the Outwater field and his sons have played there.

“Outwater Park is a pretty busy community area. The field is stuck in substandard condition,” he said.

Outwater Park is owned and maintained by the City of Lockport.

The poor condition of its baseball field forced a few Lockport High School varsity games to be moved this season.

There is a proposition on the Tuesday ballot in Lockport City School District asking voters to approve the district’s planned acquisition of 89 acres on Beattie Avenue, for $312,500. The district wants the land to eventually host four new baseball and softball diamonds and amenities including parking and concession areas. Among justifications for the land purchase, district officials pointed to the declining state of the Outwater baseball diamond, as well as the difficulties posed by heavy use of existing fields at several schools.

In other news, the Economic Development Committee recommended a $3,500 casino cash award for the annual Pirates Festival in Olcott. The three-day festival at Krull Park, set for July 8 through July 10 this year, brings thousands of visitors to the area.

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