Deal reached for Molloy College to lease, improve ballfield

An aerial view of the Nassau Coliseum/Mitchel Field An aerial view of the Nassau Coliseum/Mitchel Field Complex in Uniondale. In the foreground is Hofstra University and Hempstead Turnpike. (May 11, 2011) Photo Credit: Kevin P. Coughlin

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Nassau County legislators approved a deal that would allow Molloy College to use a Mitchel Field baseball field for up to 30 years in return for funding $1.3 million in improvements.

The vote passed the Rules Committee 4-1-2 Monday, with Republicans voting in favor, but with Legis. Wayne Wink (D-Roslyn) voting no and Judy Jacobs (D-Woodbury) and Kevan Abrahams (D-Freeport) abstaining.

Democratic legislators, who had prompted a delay in the vote two weeks ago, called the agreement a lease that should have come before the full legislature after a public hearing.

County Attorney John Ciampoli has said that isn't necessary, arguing that Nassau would not be granting a lease but a license that it could end whenever it chooses.

A lease also would require approval by the state legislature, and Democrats have written the state solicitor general in the attorney general's office, asking for an informal opinion on the proposed agreement with Molloy.

Ciampoli has asked Attorney General Eric Schneiderman to reject the Democrats' request.

Schneiderman's office could not be reached immediately for comment.

Officials at Nassau Community College, which is next door to Mitchel Field and also uses its fields, on Monday sought clarification about the Molloy agreement.

"We want to know what our role will be going forward in sharing the space with Molloy," said Geoffrey Prime, NCC board chairman.

Molloy plans to use the field primarily between the hours of 3 p.m. and 6 p.m., from Jan. 10 through May 25 and from Sept. 2 through Nov. 1.

Molloy's $1.3 million would pay for design, plans, excavation and drainage, purchase of fencing, dugouts, bullpens and installation of an artificial turf field.

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