A bill has been signed into law by Governor Andrew Cuomo that will clear the bases for a new athletic training and recreation facility in the Town of Southeast.
The legislation, which was introduced by State Senator Pete Harckham (D), gives the green light for Southeast officials to create a “land swap” deal with ProSwing Sports Realty, Inc. to build a state-of-the-art facility on Puglsey Road in between Brewster and Lake Carmel, while also increasing the size of the town’s parkland.
“My legislation, now approved, to permit the Town of Southeast to convey a parcel of its parkland in exchange for another property within the town is a win-win deal for residents and taxpayers,” said Harckham. “This ‘land swap’ with ProSwing Sports provides the town with a much larger property and soon a world-class baseball facility will be contributing substantial economic benefits, including jobs and tax revenue, to the community.”
It was necessary for Harckham to create “home rule” legislation in order to “alienate” or loosen the state restrictions on designated parklands. In exchange for being granted the 82 acres of parkland on Pugsley Road, of which 10 acres will be developed while the remaining land remains dedicated open space, ProSwing is handing over a 94.9-acre parcel on Starr Ridge Road to the town for use as parkland. The new law also accepts the Starr Ridge Road property as protected parkland.
The new law is in line with the Town of Southeast’s Comprehensive Plan, which encourages private/public cooperation to expand recreational opportunities.
“The facility on Pugsley Road will promote youth athletics, sportsmanship, diversity, economic growth and scholastic opportunity for young men and women throughout the region,” said Dan Gray, general manager and director of baseball and softball operations at ProSwing Sports.
“The new law also makes possible additional parkland for passive recreation located on Starr Ridge Road, which has been designated a historic and scenic route by the Town of Southeast. We are entirely grateful for the opportunity to provide a healthy, nurturing environment for our communities in order to promote and develop self-esteem, team building, and leadership skills.”
The land on Pugsley Road was purchased by the Town of Southeast originally to preserve open space in the community. The land being received by the town on Starr Ridge Road was initially zoned for residential use and would have needed to be rezoned for the sports training facility to be built there.