Niagara Gazette — Councilman Glenn Choolokian thinks America's pastime could be an economic driver for the Cataract City.
Choolokian is pushing a plan to build a sports complex on open park land that would serve three of the four city little leagues and act as a venue for major tournaments.
"There's such a draw for little league baseball," Choolokian said.
Choolokian, who played baseball growing up and has children who play the sport now, said people involved in little league have been talking about improving the facilities for decades.
"Everybody always talked about the (condition of the facilities)," Choolokian said of his playing days. "I'm kind of hearing the same things over again."
The proposed complex would include:
• Three baseball diamonds, one with lights and two without. All diamonds would have permanent home run fences;
• Two batting cages;
• Two bullpens;
• A multi-purpose soccer field;
• A centrally-located concession stand.
Choolokian said that in creating a state-of-the-art facility the city would be able to attract tournaments with hundreds of teams, bringing thousands of people to Niagara Falls to shop, dine and visit attractions.
And with Gov. Andrew Cuomo's administration investing in the expansion of the tourism industry in the city the sports complex could fit into that larger vision, he added.
"We've got the Falls here, we've got the casino here," Choolokian said. "This isn't a savior for Niagara Falls, but it's another piece to the puzzle."
Choolokian said he loosely estimates the cost for the sports complex to be between $1 million and $2 million, money that he believes could be set said from the city's casino revenues.
The infrastructure project would serve the community, attract visitors and last for decades, making good use of the funds, Choolokian said.