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Baseball league cries foul

By Fritz Mayer
June 22, 2011

The Narrowsburg Chamber of Commerce is planning an “Old Fashioned Family Fair” for the Fourth of July weekend with “midway games, inflatables and prizes.” But the planned festivities have struck a sour note with Joe Curreri, president of the Wayne County Babe Ruth Baseball League.

The league and the Tusten Chiefs have been playing ball on the sports field on Kirk Road, which is now owned by the Sullivan West School District, since 1976, and that is where the chamber’s fair is scheduled to be held.

Curreri said he has make-up games scheduled for July 1 and 2, and will now be forced to find another place to play. He said the league has a permit from the district to use the field, and he said he thinks “not a lot of thought” went into the decision about the chamber activities.

Sullivan West superintendent Ken Hilton said the situation developed because the chamber and Ilwon Kang, the developer who has made offers to purchase the sports field and the Narrowsburg School, which the school has accepted, wanted to hold a fair, along with other activities, including a sock hop at the school featuring the Shirelles. As part of the fair, Kang wanted to have a beer tent on the sports field.

School policy prohibits the consumption of alcohol on school property, and Hilton said moreover, it’s not appropriate. Kang asked if it would be acceptable to close the deal on the sports field before the July 4 weekend, and Hilton replied that would be an acceptable way to please everyone.
Hilton said that when he agreed to the closing, he did not know that there were games scheduled.

Curreri said that his permit is good through July 17, and playoff games are scheduled for after the Fourth. But, he said, after a few hundred people have walked around on the field for three days, it won’t be fit to play on.
Curreri said the league maintains the field and now won’t be able to use it.

He added that Kang called him and offered to help bus the players to another field.

The school

The closing between Kang and Sullivan West will only be for the sports field and will not include the school. Officials in Narrowsburg have not yet indicated whether zoning will be changed to allow Kang to move forward with the development of the planned 80-room hotel and, according to various officials on the Tusten Planning Board, the zoning board of appeals and the zoning rewrite committee, there may not be any movement in that direction for some months to come.