$1.4 million DeWitt youth center eyed

This is a rendering of the youth sports complex that should be coming to DeWitt.

This is a rendering of the youth sports complex that should be coming to DeWitt. Photo illustration

— The town of DeWitt has grand plans for the park donated by Carrier Corporation in 2010 to turn it into a $1.4 million youth sports mega-complex that will contain energy sustainability in parts. On top of that, it will also be handicapped accessible and will cater to children with special needs.

Willis Carrier Recreation Center will cost about $1.4 million in total, according to Mike Moracco, DeWitt’s director of operations and sustainability, who also noted that the cost figures can fluctuate and the numbers given are not yet set in stone.

In total, eight fields will be built and many of them will be for multi-use. The goal, Moracco said, is to help bring big-time youth tournaments to the area and to also help stimulate DeWitt’s economy. He said something like the Little League World Series, with which Moracco has been in touch about possibly hosting part of the event, would bring people to the area. In turn, hotels, restaurants and other local attractions would benefit financially from an influx of people.

“We’ve had talks with the Canadian-American Little League about possibly hosting a tournament,” Moracco said. “Lacrosse is also huge in this area, so we’re looking to help out there. The main thing is that the facility needs to be built so it can be used in time to fit leagues’ schedules.”

One of the things Moracco and DeWitt Supervisor Ed Michalenko were thrilled about is that the park will not only allow easy access for the handicapped, but also the fields will be suited for children with special needs to play on them. The Syracuse Challenger Baseball League is for those children, ages 5 to 21, and both said they expect the league will call the fields home.

“They key thing is that those with special needs will be able to play on fields that aren’t separate from the other fields,” Moracco said, adding: “It’s something you usually don’t see.”

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