Almost a year and a half after being devastated by Superstorm Sandy, Staten Island Little League will officially reopen its field complex on Friday, May 2nd with help from the Baseball Tomorrow Fund (BTF), Musco Lighting, local dignitaries, and nearly 400 expected attendees.
Following the storm, estimates placed damage to the Staten Island Little League complex, which approximately 500 children ages 4-12 call home during baseball season, in excess of $1.5 million with no insurance coverage available. The complex was under nearly nine feet of water, submerging the facility's four fields and causing flooding to every building on the property, including concession stands, equipment sheds, press boxes, storage areas and more. In addition, a collapse in the foundation damaged the facility's mechanical and electrical services, which power field lights and a heating system.
Field lighting, repair of the Challenger Field, which is utilized by disabled participants, and overhaul of the fields, batting cages and training center were ranked among the highest priorities by the organization in order to reopen the complex. The Baseball Tomorrow Fund provided a $240,000 grant, which was the largest single contribution to the effort, toward the replacement of the underground electrical system and the installation of new Musco Lighting on three of the fields; Musco Lighting. provided a significant discount for the lighting equipment. Local businesses and independent contributors from the community donated the remainder of the funds to restore the complex.
"The Baseball Tomorrow Fund is honored to assist Staten Island Little League in their recovery efforts from the devastation of Superstorm Sandy," said Cathy Bradley, Executive Director of the Baseball Tomorrow Fund. "This league is a historic and valuable part of the Staten Island community and we are happy that it can continue to offer the successful tradition of baseball and softball to the youth of this community. Also, a special thanks to our partner, Musco Lighting, without which projects like this one would not be possible."
"After the disaster of Superstorm Sandy, Musco was proud to partner with the Baseball Tomorrow Fund to be part of the rebuilding efforts for the Staten Island Little League," said Musco representative Don Rhuda. "We are excited to supply the lights for the 'Opening Night Under the New Lights' as the community continues to heal after the devastation of the storm."
"After the storm we had such a sense of despair and we truly felt overwhelmed by the destruction left behind by Sandy, but with the help from BTF and Musco Lighting, we were able to rise above the devastation and get our children back to playing baseball," said Mark Russo, volunteer board member of SILL. "After many challenging months of adversity, the league became a family with renewed bonds and we owe a lot of that to BTF and Musco Lighting; we cannot thank them all enough!"
The reopening event on May 2nd, deemed by the organization as "Opening Night Under the New Lights," will begin at 7:30 p.m. ET with words from the Baseball Tomorrow Fund, local dignitaries and league officials, and conclude at dusk with the ceremonial switching on of the new lights. The League's official first pitch under the new lights of the 2014 season will be at 8:05 p.m. ET, and will be tossed out by a special guest.
The official reopening of the Staten Island Little League complex is one of six New York-based Sandy Relief events the Baseball Tomorrow Fund has joined in celebrating this spring since pledging to assist local leagues in their recovery following the storm.