May 16, 2017
By Neal Tepel
New York, NY – Construction has begun on the new Joseph A. Verdino, Jr. Grandstand at the South Shore Little League in Staten Island. The grandstand, which will open next spring, is named for Joseph A. Verdino, Jr., a South Shore Little League player who passed away in 2007. He was 10 years old.
His parents, Robin and Joseph Verdino, created the Joseph Anthony Verdino, Jr. Field of Dreams Foundation to build a state-of-the-art baseball grandstand at South Shore Little League and improve little league and community baseball fields throughout the borough. The project will allow South Shore Little League to host Little League sanctioned tournaments in an inspiring and functional new grandstand.
“I am so please we were able to move this incredible project forward, and help build a field of dreams for hundreds of children. Baseball is a game that teaches kids life lessons and that makes the Joseph Anthony Verdino, Jr. Foundation and grandstand all the more poignant. This will be an amazing tribute to Joseph’s life and an important resource for generations of baseball players and fans,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said.
Progress toward construction began shortly after Sen. Schumer’s annual visit to the South Shore Little League’s Opening Day this year, when he heard from parents trying to navigate construction red tape. The Mayor – who also began hearing about construction delays from local elected officials – and Schumer discussed expediting approvals and construction of the stadium. The Mayor made the stadium a City Hall priority and agencies involved fast tracked needed approvals. The project is being managed by the Department of Design and Construction.
The $5.5 million project includes the construction of the grandstand to create a major league experience at the Larry DeYoung Field, at the corner of Bedell Avenue and Hylan Boulevard, and at the southwest corner of the Little League complex. Overall, the complex has seven fields. South Shore Little League has served the Tottenville community since 1954.
“The effort to jump-start construction of this wonderful new baseball stadium for the children of the South Shore and Tottenville was like a Tinker-to-Evers-to-Chance double play: the concerned parents told me their challenges at Opening Day; I called Mayor de Blasio on their behalf; and the Mayor sealed the deal by cutting through the red tape and got construction started. That’s how government is supposed to work: responsive and bi-partisan–the local champions like Borough President Oddo and Council member Borelli were also ardent supporters – and effective,” said Senator Schumer.
Schumer added, “The South Shore Little League is made up of bright-eyed, baseball-loving, hardworking kids in the community and they deserve a brand new baseball stadium to call home. For far too long, plans for the new Joseph A. Verdino Jr. Field of Dreams Baseball Stadium have been stuck in the dugout and that’s why Mayor de Blasio and I worked together to make this priority. After our push, construction on the new stadium is set to begin today and that’s grand-slam good news for the South Shore Little League!”