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Booster Club: New Concession Stand for Bleecker Stadium

November 20, 2014

by Journalism II

by: Paige DeSorbo, Alexander Horton, Vanessa Langdon, and Jessica LePore

The concession stand at Bleecker Stadium is not meeting the needs of volunteers and patrons. Albany High School, Green Tech, and the Albany Twilight League use the fields there for football and baseball games. Now that the teams are out of season, the Albany High School Booster Club wants the city to take action on a plan it submitted for a new concession stand.

The concession stand located at Clinton Ave. in Bleecker Stadium/Vanessa Langdon

The concession stand located at Clinton Ave. in Bleecker Stadium/Vanessa Langdon

The structure is in disrepair, the floor is falling apart, the service window is inconvenient, and the interior is not clean.

“I do believe the city health department would condemn it if they actually inspected it,” said Cyndy Allen, president of the Albany Booster Club.

“It is in very poor condition,” said Dan Egan, a member of the Albany Booster Club. “Frankly it is disgraceful.”

The club has estimated it would cost between $20,000 and $30,000 to build the proposed stand. Architectural plans for the new stand were donated by Marilyn Kaplan of Preservation Architecture in Albany. That plan calls for a bigger building that would include 24 by 16 feet of space for more counters, an island, three service windows, and storage areas.

Albany Booster Club member, Dan Egan, has been an integral part of the push for a new concession stand/Alex Horton

Albany Booster Club member, Dan Egan, has been an integral part of the push for a new concession stand/Alex Horton

Local businesses and alumni of Albany High have already shown interest in helping with the project.

“We already have an anonymous donor putting up $10,000,” said Egan. “Money is the least of my worries.”

The ABC has been in talks with city officials, including Mayor Kathy Sheehan and city Corporation Counsel John Reilly.

“We’re working with the corporation counsel to craft a legal agreement, because it’s a city park and a historic site,” Egan said.

According to Egan, Sheehan and her administration have been very supportive. Calls to the mayor’s office from The Pine Hills blog were not returned.

“The previous administration was not helpful,” Egan said. The new city leaders, however, “want to help,” he said.

The site was originally a reservoir back in 1850 and was converted to a stadium by Mayor John Boyd Thacher in 1928, and opened in 1934 on Thanksgiving – some 80 years ago next Thursday.

Concession Stand at Bleecker Stadium with inoperable grill/Vanessa Langdon

Concession Stand at Bleecker Stadium with inoperable grill/Vanessa Langdon

The stadium is not listed on the state’s historic registry, but, said Elisabeth Draper, deputy commissioner for the city’s Department of Parks and Recreation, the park is “eligible for nomination.” One of the proposals from the Booster Club locates the new concession stand in a berm- or in the side of a hill. That plan, said Draper, “would have involved compromising historic resources of the park.”

While the Corporation Counsel’s have seen the plans, the department of Parks and Recreation have not yet reviewed them.

Conditions at other concession stands in the city – including those at some Little Leagues and Babe Ruth – are much better, have more space, and more accommodations.

“With a bigger stand and two service windows, we’d be able to cut the lines in half while offering a wider variety of food. We’d sell more food and merchandise and raise a lot more money for a wonderful cause,” said Egan. Now, he said, “the teams cannot raise money even though people are willing to give.”

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