Construction has already begun on a new roof for the Long Island Ducks’ hurricane-damaged ballpark even as Suffolk County Legislators await a vote on funding the fix.
The roof of the 6,000-seat Bethpage Ballpark in Central Islip is nearly 13 years old and was in need of repair before the storm, according to Suffolk Legis. Rick Montano, D-Brentwood.
Just three weeks after the independent baseball team clinched the second Atlantic League championship in franchise history, Sandy tore through the region and damaged the stadium roof, which hangs over several sections of seating. If not fixed, the damaged roof would limit access to premium suites and a restaurant for the county-owned park.
Montano is co-sponsoring a resolution to allocate $600,000 from the facility’s capital improvement fund for the repair. The budget committee approved the move. It should go to a vote next Tuesday.
“We’re going to put the new roof on and they need it,” Montano said. “It probably needed to be replaced anyway. But the storm damage hastened this.”
Ducks owner Frank Boulton told Patch that as a tenant in the county-owned facility he didn’t ask for anything, but cautioned against draining the capital improvement fund.
As part of the construction grant to build the stadium more than a decade ago, the county puts $90,000 a year into the fund, according to Boulton. He said that money is needed for routine maintenance. A new roof goes beyond that mandate, he warned.
“If there is a leak in the roof we fix it,” said Boulton, who put the repair job at 30 days. “But if the roof wears out, the landlord fixes it. I’m a tenant.”
Montano is confident repairs can be recouped through FEMA.
The Ducks have been an economic bright spot for Suffolk, creating both jobs and revenue.
“It’s an important economic engine for the county,” said Montano, who represents the Central Islip neighborhood where the stadium stands.
The Ducks open the 2013 season on the road. Their home opener is April 26 against the Sugar Land Skeeters.