In Copake it’s kids 1, wind 0

COPAKE—The Taconic Hills Little League has stepped up to the plate.

At the May 10 Copake Town Board meeting, Town Supervisor Jeff Nayer brought up the matter of storm damage at Copake Memorial Park.

Area homes, trees, electrical service and vehicles, including a tractor trailer, were not the only casualties of the high winds generated during the severe April 16 storm that forced states of emergency to be declared in Copake and Ancram.

The roofs on three of the baseball field dugouts at Copake Memorial Park were also part of the carnage.

A dugout without its roof. Photo by Diane Valden

The roofs of two dugouts were completely blown off. One of them was thrown onto and busted the chain-link fence that separates the park from a neighboring campground. The roof on a third dugout had a hunk ripped out of it.

While filing insurance claims for the damage at the park, which also included shingles peeled off the concession stand and the main park building, the supervisor discovered that the dugouts and the concession stand are not insured. There are a total of six dugouts at the park, two on the softball field and two on each of two baseball fields.

The Taconic Hills Little League (THLL) plays its games at the Copake Park fields and also at the Claverack Town Park.

It’s ridiculous that the dugouts and concession stand are not insured,” Mr. Nayer said at the meeting.

He said after the meeting he didn’t know if they ever were insured or if the insurance was dropped by some prior administration in an effort to save a few bucks.

Mr. Nayer said he had discussed the matter with a Little League official who offered to get the materials and repair the dugouts. He estimated the cost of the materials to fix the dugout roofs at about $3,000.

They really stepped up to the plate,” the supervisor said.

The Little League has about 200 registered players, boys and girls ages 4 to 15 who live in the Taconic Hills Central School District. The program has minor and major divisions in baseball and softball and coach-pitch/t-ball.

Players started practicing during the third week of April and will play through mid-June with 12 regular season games, according to the website www.taconichillslittleleague.com.

Once the roof damage was cleaned up, there was no interruption of the schedule, Neil Dellea, a THLL board member, told The Columbia Paper this week. He said Mr. Nayer and Highway Superintendent Bill Gregory have been very supportive and helpful.

Asked the purpose of a dugout, Mr. Dellea said they are primarily for the children’s safety to keep them out of the elements and in a defined area when they are not on the playing field. He said the dugouts are also similar to those used in major league baseball and give the kids a feel for what it’s like to play in the big leagues.

Mr. Dellea said the Little League is fortunate to have dugouts and when they play games against other leagues, not every place has them.

THLL President Bill Mulrein said by phone this week that the Little League has a “great partner” in the Town of Copake and wants to do its part.

He said the Little League will look to local sponsors “to help us out.”

Herrington’s will donate the lumber and materials and Jed Fink Builders will donate the labor to put the dugouts back together.

We could not survive without local businesses,” said Mr. Mulrein, noting “player registration fees pay only a small part of operating costs, the rest is made up by local businesses.”

Supervisor Nayer said he has already spoken to the town’s insurance agent, Kirk Kneller, about putting insurance on the dugouts and concession stand and the cost will be about $40/year.

In other business at the May Town Board meeting, the board approved four tax certiorari settlements presented by Town Attorney Ken Dow. The agreements reached after taxpayers sued the town to have their property assessments lowered are:

Matthew Stauffer, original assessment $848,000, revised assessment $670,000

James Williams, two parcels, total original assessment $366,200, revised assessment $300,000

Melvin Salberg, original assessment $1,200,000, revised assessment $1,000,000

*Rubin Quick Stops, original assessment $785,000, revised assessment $535,000.

Former Copake Assessor Craig Surprise was fired, then rehired, then quit in January. Lynn Hotaling is now the town’s sole assessor.

The next regular Town Board meeting is June 14 at 7 p.m.

To contact Diane Valden email

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