AUBURN — Mid-January snowfalls are exceptionally good at making some reminisce over warmer weather. For two baseball teams, the sooner the snow melts, the more clear the future of their upcoming seasons will become.
The Auburn High School and Cayuga Community College baseball teams both call Falcon Park their home turf. But the turf is why they're concerned — it hasn't been installed yet.
Falcon Park, also the abode to the Single-A Auburn Doubledays, began its $2 million synthetic turf installment project in October, nearly three months after the plan to transform the facility was first introduced.
AUBURN — Nearly three months after the city of Auburn introduced a plan to replace the grass…
In November, Auburn Superintendent of Public Works Mike Talbot said the project was still aligned with its anticipated timeline to be ready for spring play by the college and high school teams, despite some early snowfalls. Now in January, Talbot has confirmed that the park's renovations have been delayed and the teams won't be able to play there in the spring as planned.
"We've gotten a lot done in the last couple of weeks, but we still have to wait for the turf to be delivered and manufactured," Talbot told The Citizen last week.
The turf, said Talbot, can only be installed under certain temperatures, and with the recent cold, snowy weather Auburn has seen, the project's completion has been pushed back.
The installment's schedule "really all depends on what kind of March we have," he said. That said, the city expects that the field will be ready for the Doubledays when their season starts in mid-June.
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Tamela Ray, Auburn High School's director of health, physical education and athletics, said Monday that she was unaware of the project's delay.
"I haven't heard anything," she said. "Am I surprised? Not really."
Ray said that the high school does have a baseball field that its team could use for the beginning of the season, but because of its shape, "baseball people struggle to call it a park." She said there's still some figuring out to do.
CCC, which worked with the city to get the Falcon Park turf project approved so it could be the home for its new baseball squad, is also figuring out its Plan B.
"Right now, we're a band of nomads until we get our own space," said CCC Athletic Director Pete Liddell.
Although he mentioned a possibility of using a field at Wells College in Aurora, Liddell said he's unsure of where the CCC Spartans will play their 2019 home games.
"We'll have a better idea of where we'll be toward the end of the month, but we're hoping for an early spring," Liddell said.
CCC has entered into a lease with the city of Auburn to help cover the costs of the park's renovations. Once the project is completed, the stadium will transform from a four-month-a-year facility to a 10-month one. A longer functioning year will allow CCC's athletic teams to compete at the park in the fall, winter and spring.