Aerial photo of the Cazenovia American Legion Post 88 ball fields. The far field is the baseball field, recently refurbished, and the closer field is for softball, which was not revamped during the recent project. (photo courtesy Cazenovia American Legion)
By Jason Emerson
In a little over two months, the Cazenovia American Legion has nearly completed a total renovation of its century-old baseball field — a renovation designed to improve its playability and, hopefully, encourage more use of it by the Cazenovia community.
While a few items will be left undone until next spring, the majority of the work has been finished, said Gene Gissin, Post 88 vice commander and co-chair of the project committee.
“We will be ready for the 2018 season,” Gissin said.
Known around town as Vet’s Field, but officially called the North Field, the Legion baseball field had deteriorated over many years, and the maintenance included numerous actions, such as leveling the entire field, redoing the drainage, putting in new grass in the outfield and new clay in the infield, and revamping the bleachers, dugouts and bullpen. A new viewing area has also been added to cater to people in wheelchairs.
While much of the work has been completed, still left to do is erect the fences — and raise the fences in some spots for improved safety —roll the sod and install the bases.
Although the field is practically completed, it will remain closed to use until next spring — that includes a prohibition on golfers and dog walkers from using the field.
There will be a dedication ceremony for the field in the spring, Gissin said.
Through the years, Vets Field has been home to numerous baseball teams, leagues and tournaments, including American Legion Baseball, Cazenovia Baseball/Softball Association, Cazenovia Summer Youth Recreation Program baseball and Cazenovia College Baseball.
Both the Cazenovia Baseball/Softball Association and Cazenovia College Baseball organizations, both of which stopped playing at Vet’s Field due to its deteriorating condition, plan to resume play on the field starting in 2018.
Post 88 also intends to revive the Madison County American Legion Baseball League — which started in 1925 but stopped in 2008 — and field a new team.
The project’s total cost will be around $450,000 to complete, Gissin said, which is being funded completely by community donations and Post 88 — no local, state or federal funding is being used for the work.
Post 88 is still accepting donations from any community members who would like to contribute to the field project. For more information or to donate, contact Gene Gissin at 315-655-2224.
Jason Emerson is editor of the Cazenovia Republican and Eagle Bulletin newspapers.