Cricket

Cricket players propose athletic complex on Route 5 in Glenville

After years of playing wherever they could, organizers of a regional cricket association are proposing a homefield complex along the Mohawk River.

New York Capital Sports is an LLC formed by five partners who all were involved in the foundation of the Capital District Cricket Association, which has grown from dozens to hundreds of members over the last six years.

They propose phased development of 42.7 acres at 4281 Amsterdam Road that once was home to Mohawk Valley Skydiving. The building that housed the operation still stands, but the little airstrip is farmland now.

The plan calls for an initial build of three fields, each of them ovals measuring 400 by 430 feet, plus parking.

Subsequent phases could include two more fields, a 10,000-square-foot clubhouse and a 30,000-square-foot, two-story building that would house a restaurant and guest lodging, plus additional parking and water/sewer connections.

Assorted seating, pavilions and landscaping features would be included.

When and whether the second and third phase are built would depend on the success of the first phase. Baseball/softball and soccer fields would be added to the complex for use when cricket is not in play, and the next generation of cricketers would receive coaching and instruction there.

The plan is up for preliminary site review at the Glenville Planning and Zoning Commission’s Sept. 13 meeting.

Town Supervisor Chris Koetzle said the initial impression is very favorable: It would add recreational assets to the town; bring people to the Route 5 corridor, which the town is promoting for tourism; and is a viable use for a piece of land that sits in the flood zone, and was underwater after Tropical Storm Irene.

The Glenville Environmental Conservation Commission gave a favorable recommendation to the plan, which falls within the uses permitted under the site’s zoning.

Ashok Adikoppula and Kalyan Kompally, two of the five people behind New York Capital Sport, discussed the plan with The Daily Gazette on Tuesday.

Adikoppula said the Cricket Association has had a continual struggle to find playing fields since it was formed in 2015, and as it grew from a few dozen cricketers to more than 300.

A cricket field is a circle or oval with a minimum 400-foot diameter around a central strip called the pitch. Runners can take off in any direction from the pitch, so the players need the entire oval to themselves. And each game takes several hours.

The Cricket Association has relied on public fields and parks to stage its games in places including Clifton Park, Schenectady, Albany and New Baltimore.

“Some of the local towns, the supervisors, we should really thank them,” Adikoppula said. “It was nice to get all these approvals but cricket games are long and occupy the whole space.”

From the beginning, Kompally said, “We wanted to have a space.” The search took six years.

The Capital Region is growing more diverse, but cricket is not just a sport for people of Caribbean and South Asian heritage, Adikoppula said: It’s a world game, thanks to the once-global empire of Britain, from which cricket originated.

What’s credited as the first-ever international cricket game was played in New York City in 1844 (Canada vs. United States, Canada won).

Today, the Cricket Association is working to expand the sport’s reach in the Capital Region by training public school and YMCA staff in the sport, Kompally said.

He said if all goes well, they’d like to start playing cricket at the Glenville site in the summer of 2022 and start construction of the clubhouse in autumn of 2022.

A decision to go ahead with the third phase would be three to five years beyond that.

“So far the town of Glenville has been very supportive,” Kompally said.

Koetzle’s only reservation at this point is the second and third phase of the plan — not with the details, but with the vagueness of the timeline and commitment to making it happen.

For everything from infrastructure planning to public expectations, it’s better to have a clearly detailed plan and firm commitment to those details, he said, rather than have later portions of a project be revised or canceled in a few years’ time.

Otherwise, Koetzle said, the project fits well with the site. It is three miles west of the town’s Maalwyck Park, a large complex of soccer fields that also was inundated during Tropical Storm Irene.

“We like recreation, that’s always something we’re looking to add,” he said. “Especially in a flood zone.”

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