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Batavia Muckdogs sign 10 players and announce early season events

By Press Release

Press Release:

The Batavia Muckdogs are excited to announce the signing of 10 players to the 2024 roster this summer. 

Diego Alvarado (INF, Hendrix College, Jr.), Justin Austin (INF/OF, Cerro Coso Community College, So.), 2023 Returner - Trey Bacon (RHP/UTIL, University of Auburn-Montgomery, Sr.), 2023 Returner - Garrett Beaver (RHP, Salisbury University, So.), Bryceton Berry (RHP/OF, Flagler College, Fr.), 2023 Returner - Tucker Beving (RHP, University of Wisconsin-Stout, So.), James Bolton (Catcher, SUNY-Courtland, So.), Devin Brooks (RHP, Alabama State University, So.), Garrett Brunstetter (LHP, University of Missouri-St. Louis, So.), Jake Butler (INF, George Mason University, Fr.). 

The Muckdogs will also take part in several events this season including walking in the Memorial Day Parade, Eli Fish Season Ticket Holder Party, The Tiney Piney Meet & Greet, and Bowling with the Muckdogs at Mancuso Lanes.

Diego Alvarado is a 6’ utility player from Hendrix College. A native of Visalia, California, Alvarado is starting his first season with the Muckdogs. Alvarado played at Gateway Community College where he played in 38 games, hitting for a .279 average, and having 14 runs batted in. In his first season at Hendrix, Alvarado started 12 games for the Warriors while posting a .211 batting average, while driving in 8 runs, on 8 hits.

Justin Austin is a 5’7” infielder from Cerro Coso Community College. A native of Winter Park, Florida, Austin is starting his first season with the Muckdogs. In 27 games played for the Coyotes, Austin had a .318 batting average, with 27 hits, 28 runs batted in, and 1 home run.

Trey Bacon is a 5’11” right-handed pitcher from the University of Auburn at Montgomery. A native of Tampa, Florida, Bacon is a familiar face amongst Muckdogs fans as he is returning for his 4 th season. Bacon in 13.2 innings had 13 strikeouts for the Warhawks, and hitters having a .209 batting average against him. Coach Bush at Auburn-Montgomery had high praise for the senior pitcher.

Garrett Beaver is a 6’1 right-handed pitcher from Salisbury University. A native of Waynesboro, Pennsylvania, Beaver is returning for another season in Batavia. Beaver, last season at Salisbury, pitched 36.1 innings, with a 3-2 record and 3 saves, struck out 34 batters with a 2.94 earned run average. His career numbers with the Seagulls are 47 innings pitched, with a 3-2 overall record, 3 saves, 46 strikeouts, and a 2.87 earned run average, with hitters having a .190 batting average against him.

Bryceton Berry is a 6’1 right-handed pitcher and outfielder from Flagler College. A native of Batavia, Berry is starting his first season with his hometown team. Berry’s first season at Flagler had him make appearances in the outfield and on the mound for the Saints. On the mound, Berry pitched 13.1 innings, while striking out 11, posting a 4.73 earned run average, and hitters had a .239 batting average against him. At the plate, Berry had 1 hit in 3 at bats, giving him a .333 batting average. Berry was also the MVP of the Batavia Rotary Club Tournament this summer at Dwyer.

Tucker Beving is a 6’ right-handed pitcher from the University of Wisconsin-Stout. A native of Norwalk, Iowa, Beving is entering his second season with the Muckdogs. Beving had 39.2 innings pitched, with 35 strikeouts for the Blue Devils. In his career, he has 82.1 innings pitched, with 73 strikeouts, tallying a 7.43 earned run average. Hitters have a .309 batting average against him. This season, Beving’s goal this season is to drop his ERA and opposing batting average to lead the pitching staff.

James Bolton is a 6’2” catcher from SUNY-Courtland. A native of nearby Webster, New York, Bolton is entering his first season with the Muckdogs. Bolton is looking to bring leadership and playoff experience to Batavia following his college season where SUNY-Courtland made a deep playoff run. 

Devin Brooks is a 6’3” right-handed pitcher from Alabama State University. A native of Alabaster, Alabama, Brooks is starting his first season with the Muckdogs. In his most recent season at Alabama State, Brooks pitched 27.2 innings while striking out 22 batters, giving him a 1-2 record. In his career with the Hornets, Brooks has 31.1 innings, with 24 strikeouts, and a 1-2 record, with opposing hitters having a .239 batting average against him.

Garrett Brunstetter is a 6’2” left-handed pitcher from the University of Missouri-St. Louis. A native of Louisville, Kentucky, Brunstetter is starting his first season with the Muckdogs. In 52 innings pitched for the Tritons, Brunstetter struck out 65 batters, posting a 5.71 earned run average, and hitters had a .254 batting average against him.

Jake Butler is a 5’11” infielder from George Mason University. A native of Baltimore, Maryland, Butler is starting his first season with the Muckdogs. In 23 starts for George Mason University, Butler has a .256 batting average with 21 hits, in 82 at bats, 9 runs batted in, and 2 home runs. Butler is looking to make an impact for Batavia in his first season.

Fans can see the Muckdogs before the action starts on Monday, May 27 in the annual Memorial Day Parade. 

On Tuesday, May 28 the Muckdogs will host their annual Season Ticket Holder Eat & Meet at Eli Fish Brewing at 6 p.m. 

Then on Wednesday, May 29 join the Muckdogs at The Tiney Piney (5609 Main St. Batavia). 

Fans can bowl with the Muckdogs on Tuesday, June 4 at Mansuco Bowling Center/T.F. Brown’s at 6 p.m. as well. They can contact Manscuso Bowling Center directly at 585-343-1319 to reserve their spot to Bowl with players. 

Opening Day is Saturday, June 1 at 6:30 p.m. vs the Elmira Pioneers with Post Game Fireworks presented by Graham Corporation & Batavia Downs. Call 585-524-2260 for single-game tickets & season ticket plans start at just $99.

Batavia Rotary Club high school baseball tournament is Saturday at Dwyer Stadium

By Press Release

Press Release:

The 24th Annual Batavia Rotary Club High School Baseball Tournament will take place on Saturday, May 4 at Dwyer Stadium.

Oakfield-Alabama and Notre Dame will play in the first game at 11 a.m. followed by Le Roy vs Batavia at 1:30 p.m. The Consolation Game will be at 4 p.m. with the Championship Game at 7 p.m.

An All-Day Admission Pass is $5 for an adult and $3 for a student or senior. Cash, Venmo, or credit card will be accepted for payment. All proceeds from the tournament will help benefit Batavia Rotary Club charities.

New this year:

  • We will be having the Batavia High Baseball Team’s “Senior Night” prior to the 1:30 p.m. game.
  • Youths age 12 and under will get in free if they wear their baseball or softball uniforms to any of the games and attend with a parent/adult family member.
  • Any Challenger Sports athletes and Unified Sports athletes will get in free if they wear their uniform or tee-shirt, and come with a parent/adult family member or adult caregiver.
  • Tickets for the Rotary Club’s Fly-In Breakfast on Father’s Day will be available for purchase.

We look forward to seeing the community come out to cheer on our local athletes!

Photos: More treats than tricks at Dwyer Stadium

By Joanne Beck
Dwyer trick or treat 2023
A line of costumed trick-or-treaters make their way through the gate of Dwyer Stadium Saturday. 
Photo by Nick Serrata

The ever-popular trick-or-treat event at Dwyer Stadium drew hundreds again this year as part of a yearly Halloween tradition at the Bank Street facility that's home to Batavia Muckdogs.

The October event is just one of several that Muckdogs owner Robbie Nichols and staff host at the site, but it's definitely the sweetest. Businesses an organizations also participate with booths at the field, and hand out candy to the onslaught of little ghosts, goblins and whatever cartoon character may be trending. 

Photos by Nick Serrata

Dwyer trick or treat-2 2023
Trick or treat at Dwyer 2023
Trick or treaters at Dwyer 2023

Batavia Muckdogs set third annual Trick or Treat for October 21

By Press Release
Photo from 2022 Muckdogs trick or treat by Howard Owens.

Press Release:

The Batavia Muckdogs are excited to announce their 3rd annual Muckdogs Trick or Treat at Dwyer Stadium on Saturday, October 21 from 3 - 6 p.m. 

“This tradition started when we took over the team in 2021 as a free event for the community to get together and have some fun around Halloween. Last year we saw over 5,000 people attend the event and we are expecting another great crowd. We really can’t thank the businesses that are involved who help make this event possible.” Owner Robbie Nichols.

The event is free to enter and is for all ages. Attendees can trick or treat, participate in games & activities, and enjoy the Halloween festivities at Dwyer Stadium. If you or someone you know wants their local business to be involved please email Muckdogs General Manager, Marc Witt

Muckdogs owner eager to strengthen 'marriage' with city by long-term contract

By Joanne Beck
robbie nichols muckdogs
Batavia Muckdogs owner Robbie Nichols, his wife Nellie and General Manager Marc Witt sit in the audience during a City Council meeting as they wait for the city leaders to discuss an updated contract for Dwyer Stadium Monday evening at City Hall.
Photo by Joanne Beck

These past two years may have seemed like a honeymoon phase for Batavia Muckdogs owner Robbie Nichols and the City of Batavia, but he and his CAN-USA Sports team are ready to take it to the next level, he says.

“You know, we've had great success here in Batavia with the Muckdogs and all the different things that take place at the Dwyer Stadium. And we're willing to make a long commitment to the city. And I think the city's willing to make a long commitment to us,” Nichols said after getting the City Council’s nod of approval for a lease renewal Monday evening. “It's been a great marriage. And we've really enjoyed working with the city. And I think they enjoy working with us. So we're ready to make a long-term commitment.”

Nichols, aka CAN-USA Sports, took over the lease for Dwyer Stadium in January 2021 and operated for three seasons as part of the Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League. 

Due to the success at the stadium — which features local favorite Batavia Muckdogs, live concerts, a dance team, high school baseball, festivals, and kid-friendly events, including the upcoming blow-out for Halloween, a trick-or-treat night — city leaders offered a longer contract this time around.

Beginning in April, there will be a rent payment of $7,500, which will increase to $10,000 in 2025. Then in 2026, the rent is to increase to $11,500, along with a capital payment of $5,000. Rent and a capital payment will gradually increase from there for a total rent of $17,758 and a capital payment of $9,900 on April 1, 2040.

Capital payments will be placed in a reserve fund for use on facility improvements, per agreement between the landlord and tenant for projects of more than $25,000. 

Part of the lease includes targeted capital improvement program projects, including painting and installing new flooring in the home and visiting team locker rooms; replacing home and visiting team locker room signage; installing new and upgrading sound equipment; repairing and or replacing outfield fencing; redesigning Dwyer Stadium landscaping and repairing or replacing home and visiting team bullpen areas.

City Manager Rachael Tabelski recommended that the council move a resolution forward for a vote to approve the updated lease agreement. Nichols has pledged “to make aesthetic improvements at the stadium and to pay rent in each of those years as listed in the contract and capital fees,” she said. The extension is in three terms of five years each.+

“I just want to say thank you for all you've done out there. I mean, I see signs all over the place, fireworks, Fourth of July, you're really doing a great job,” Council President Eugene Jankowski Jr. said. “Thank you very much. Are we in consensus?”

Council members gave an unofficial thumbs up, with the official vote to come during the next business meeting on Oct. 10. 

Nichols, his wife Nellie, and General Manager Marc Witt patiently sat through the entire meeting to get that good news since the agenda item was near the end. As per their usual, the Nichols and Witt were dressed in red and white Muckdogs gear, representing the team they have fully come to embrace as part of the Batavia community.

There have been many different events at the stadium, from various types of musical groups and entertainers to the latest annual Halloween fest, which last year drew a line of ghosts and goblins that wrapped around the corner. The Batavian had heard that the stadium might host a future Italian festival and asked Robbie if there was any truth to that.

“There's a rumor going around that we're looking at that. So we're always looking. We've always said it's the city's building, you know, the citizen’s building. Whatever we can do there that attracts more people, we’d love to do,” he said. “We definitely want more events and different events, and we're open to a lot of different things. We've already had a lot of different things there. The Halloween event has had huge success, and so whatever we can think of, we'll try it.”

Wilmot Cancer Institute's Survivors Night June 24

By Press Release

Press Release:

Join Wilmot Cancer Institute at our Survivors Night to celebrate cancer survivorship on Saturday, June 24, at 6:35 p.m. (game time) at Dwyer Stadium, 299 Bank St., Batavia.

The event will feature the Batavia Muckdogs playing against Elmira Pioneers, fireworks and a ceremony honoring cancer survivors.

Survivors receive 1 free game ticket (each additional ticket $10).

Call the Muckdogs Box Office to purchase at 585-524-2260. Must be purchased prior to game day.

*Cancer survivors are invited to arrive by 6 p.m. to join in the on-field celebration.

Muckdogs Recap: record attendance and events, motorcycles on ice in spring 2023

By Joanne Beck


Playing host to more than 50,000 people at ball games, plus youth, high school and college baseball games, dance clinics, concerts, a fundraising awareness walk, challenger sports activities, and an epic Halloween trick-or-treat event gave Batavia Muckdogs owner Robbie Nichols plenty to brag about Monday.

But then he saved the best for last, he said. Nichols and General Manager Marc Witt announced that a World Championship ice racing event was just confirmed for early next spring. But no ice skates are involved.

“We're working with the arena with Matty Gray. And I think that he's done a great job from what we've seen. We've been over there a bunch of times, working with him, trying to bring more business and people to the arena,” Nichols said. “And we were gonna announce today that on Friday, March 31, is going to be something Batavia has never seen before. We are bringing the World Championship XIIR, which is Extreme International Ice racing. So we're bringing motorcycles on ice, these motorcyclists go 60 miles per hour, and they'll be in the arena. And they go all around the country to big arenas, and we're gonna bring it here to Batavia on March 31.”

What did it take to get this world event here? As Witt sort of shook his head at the thought, Nichols said it wasn't easy.

“It takes a lot. They're coming from all across the world. So Scotland, England … some of these racers, their Speedway bikes, they go zero to 60 miles per hour with no breaks. They have studded tires. So there'll be Speedway bikes," Nichols said. "There'll be a quad-riding class. So there are people around here that race on ice. They’ll be invited to come out and race too we'll have a go-kart series. So it's going to be really neat.”

There will be more public announcements about the event and “very limited” tickets, he said. There are an estimated 450 to 500 people that can fit into the arena, he said, and he fully expects the venue to be “packed and sold out.” Tickets are likely to go on sale just before Christmas, he said.

Being classified as a world championship, this event next year means more than just a unique happening for Batavia. It also signals a potential uptick for the city’s economy due to people traveling from all points of the globe and staying and eating locally.


Speaking of numbers, Dwyer Stadium hosted 50,000 people for Muckdogs games this season, which made for a total of 84,000 visitors to the Bank Street park. There were more than 40 high school games, challenger division baseball, 30 youth baseball games, a showdown game between the city police and fire departments, an Alzheimer’s walk kick-off, use of the field in September and October by Geneseo State College, and the Zac Brown and Margaritaville concerts.

Costumed visitors swelled from last year’s 500 trick-or-treaters and 2,000 families to this past Saturday’s 2,100 trick-or-treaters and 5,000 families for the annual spooky fun festivities with vendors and free candy.


“It was a zoo,” Witt said.

Staffers had to go out and buy more candy — some $500 more — to feed the masses that formed a line all the way down Denio Street and wrapping its way along State Street toward Batavia High School.


The Dwyer to-do list includes additional netting to ensure that spectators aren’t hit by foul balls and a party deck, and several items have already been completed, such as painting locker rooms, power washing, adding a new bullpen to the vision team area, new cooking appliances, the addition of 30 tables and 100 chairs in the main office, and even the finer details of updating toilet paper rolls and paper holders in the men’s and women’s restrooms.

With a track record of hosting 120 events this season, averaging 20 events per month from April to October, including 22 picnics, Dwyer Stadium “has something going on,” Nichols said. He and the staff have set a goal to have something going on every single day, he said.

Events weren’t just about drawing crowds to the stadium, but also about team participation in parades and Nichols’ favorite event, Challenger Division Baseball. Staff and team players work alongside people with various disabilities to enjoy a real game as participants.

“This is our favorite event. We take a day out when we play with the challenger divisions, we have a real game,” he said. “They're the stars of the show.”

Season ticket holders have risen from 100 to more than 500 since taking over operations as owner in 2021, he said. Nichols, who is also the owner of CAN-USA Sports since 2012, is well prepared for next season with the Muckdogs, having 30 players in place already for a championship next season, he said.

He is looking to extend his lease with the city, after two years down and three to go. He and Witt thanked council members and management for “trusting CAN-USA Sports.”

Councilman Bob Bialkowski encouraged them to “keep up the good work” while member John Canale suggested that the enterprise "is your baby.”

“You’ve created that; we’re very grateful for what you’ve done,” Canale said.

A modest Nichols said it wasn’t about him and Witt.

“It’s the community that makes it possible, “ he said.


Top Photo: Batavia Muckdogs General Manager Marc Witt, left, and owner Robbie Nichols present a recap of this year at Dwyer Stadium in Batavia (by Joanne Beck); photos of the Halloween trick-or-treat event this past Saturday, including Robbie and wife Nellie, above. Photos by Howard Owens.

Photos: Dwyer filled with tiny super heroes and scary monsters for annual Halloween event

By Howard B. Owens


The line for the Halloween trick-or-treat event at Dwyer Stadium on Saturday stretched from the front gate to State Street throughout most of the event.

Various businesses and organizations were spread out around the grandstands and onto the field handing out candy to costumed kiddies.  Many of the organizations had to send out members of their party to retrieve more candy from local stores after bringing only enough for 1,000 or 2,000 children.

The event was sponsored by the Batavia Muckdogs and the team's owners Robbie and Nellie Nichols. Robbie said that 2,100 kids and 5,000 families showed up this year. 









It's all about smiles and happy faces at Dwyer Stadium on concert night

By Howard B. Owens


When people leave Dwyer Stadium laughing and smiling, Robbie and Nellie Nichols know they've done the right thing, whether it's after a concert, a Halloween costume party, or a baseball game.

Special events at the stadium aren't about making money, Robbie said.  In fact, the two concerts the Nichols hosted this summer were costly and a lot of work, that's why there are only two of them. But they fulfill a mission and keep a promise, he said.

"For us, it's not about the money," Nichols said. "It's about us seeing people having a good time at the stadium and us keeping our word when we signed the lease for Dwyer, that you would see more than just baseball there."

On a golden summer evening on Saturday, Dwyer was filled with the happy vibe of Zac Brown fans there to see the Rochester-based Zac Brown Tribute Band.  Frowns were impossible to find on the infield grass or in the stands or in the concession area where Robbie Nichols himself was serving up cocktails in palm-tree-top plastic containers and tall cans of beer.

The good times had by all might also help fill up the stands during Muckdogs games, Nichols acknowledged.

"Maybe 50 percent of the people there had never been to Dwyer before," Nichols said. "A lot of people came from Buffalo and Rochester.  I just want people to get used to coming to the stadium. I had a couple of people say they didn't know the stadium was this nice and that they will definitely be back for a Muckdogs game."

Given the amount of work and expense that goes into putting on a concert, there won't be any more shows at Dwyer this year, but given the success of the two events this summer, Nichols plans on doing it again next summer once the baseball season is over.

"I think my wife and I like to see people happy and having a good time," Nichols said. "We like seeing smiles on their faces, and I think we accomplished that with these concerts."

The next events at Dwyer are a baseball camp hosted by GCC and Geneseo College playing a ball game against alumni, and then there is the Alzheimer's Walk on Oct. 1, followed by the Halloween bash, which was a big success last year, on Oct. 22.

Photos by Howard Owens


Robbie Nichols










Post-COVID Walk to End Alzheimer's to be in person Oct. 1 in Batavia

By Press Release


File Photo of last year's Walk to End Alzheimer's by Howard Owens. Walk organizers opted to have a hybrid version of the walk to include both virtual and in-person participants after the pandemic prompted a virtual-only event in 2020.

Press Release

The Alzheimer’s Association, Western New York Chapter, is inviting Genesee and Wyoming County residents to join the fight to end Alzheimer’s by participating in the Alzheimer’s Association Walk to End Alzheimer’s® on October 1 at Dwyer Stadium in Batavia. Registration begins at 10 a.m., with an opening ceremony at 11 a.m., and the actual Walk commences at 11:15 a.m.

Lynn Westcott, senior director of development at the WNY Chapter, says: “The Genesee/Wyoming Counties Walk to End Alzheimer's is our signature event for awareness and we are thrilled to bring the Walk back as a completely in-person event this year.” Covid-19 concerns prompted the Alzheimer’s Association to hold a virtual Walk in 2020 and a hybrid version in 2021.

On Walk day, participants come together to honor those affected by Alzheimer’s and raise funds that ensure the programs and services provided by the Alzheimer’s Association are free to all who need them. In addition, participants honor those affected by Alzheimer’s with the poignant Promise Garden ceremony, with the colors of the Promise Garden flowers representing people’s connection to Alzheimer’s – their personal reasons to end the disease.

Kim Arnold, chair of the Genesee/Wyoming Counties Walk to End Alzheimer’s, shares, “I volunteer with the Alzheimer's Association in support of the families and caregivers of those who live with Alzheimer's disease. We have so many outstanding people and families in these two counties' communities who have been affected by Alzheimer’s and consistently support the Walk, and the Alzheimer’s Association. The dedication and turnout has been heartwarming year after year. We look forward to seeing all those smiling faces again for Walk 2022! It's a morning full of fun with music, performers and activities to interest all ages.”

More than 6 million Americans are living with Alzheimer's disease – a leading cause of death in the United States. Additionally, more than 11 million family members and friends provide care to people living with Alzheimer’s and other dementias. In New York alone, there are more than 410,000 people living with the disease and 580,000 caregivers. 

This year’s Walk to End Alzheimer’s is presented by Uniland. To register and receive the latest updates on the Genesee/Wyoming Counties Walk, visit To learn more about the planning committee or sponsorship opportunities, contact Lynn Westcott at or 716.440.4251.

Alzheimer's Association Walk to End Alzheimer’s®

The Alzheimer’s Association Walk to End Alzheimer’s is the world’s largest event to raise awareness and funds for Alzheimer’s care, support and research.  Since 1989, the Alzheimer’s Association mobilized millions of Americans in the Alzheimer’s Association Memory Walk®; now the Alzheimer’s Association is continuing to lead the way with Walk to End Alzheimer’s. Together, we can end Alzheimer’s.  

Alzheimer's Association®

The Alzheimer’s Association is a worldwide voluntary health organization dedicated to Alzheimer’s care, support and research. Its mission is to lead the way to end Alzheimer's and all other dementia — by accelerating global research, driving risk reduction and early detection, and maximizing quality care and support. Visit or call 800.272.3900. 

Meet the Muckdogs Owner

By James Burns

When was the last time an actual owner of the Muckdogs was at Dwyer Stadium? There is one there today.

Things continue to change for the new Muckdogs under the ownership of Robbie Nichols. He's at Dwyer stadium talking to fans and helping sell season tickets until 6:30 this evening. 


General Admission seats are just $99.

Reserve box seats are $199.

Reserved seats come with waitstaff so you don’t miss a pitch. 

If you can't make it down to Dwyer Stadium today, please call or email the Batavia Muckdogs at (607) 734-7825 or

Nichols has been in town this week meeting with local businesses, talking to fans and he also has plans to reach out to the area's Little Leagues to talk with them about the Muckdogs being a more active part of the community.  

The Muckdogs are finalizing this season's plans and now have a new official Facebook page you can follow for more updates on the coming season. 


City to select firm to provide high-speed fiber/internet connectivity

By Mike Pettinella

The City of Batavia is taking a “fix it before it breaks” approach to upgrading the internet functionality at its facilities.

City Council, at its Dec. 14 Business Meeting, is expected to vote on a resolution to contract with an internet provider to equip the municipality with a secure, high-speed fiber connection.

Interim City Manager Rachael Tabelski reported at last week’s Conference Meeting that she received nine proposals, including bids from local companies Empire Access, Spectrum and Marchese Computer Products (in tandem with another firm).

Tabelski, in a memo to Council dated Nov. 17, wrote that the current point-to-point/multi-point radio controlled wireless system that connects City facilities shows signs of aging (it is believed to be at least 12 years old) – and is beset by "sporadic internet connectivity and very slow connection speeds.”

She also emphasized that if a radio should malfunction completely, the cost to repair it could climb as high as $35,000.

Council President Eugene Jankowski Jr. said the City should “get ahead of it before it breaks down and we have to fix it.”

The resolution set to come before Council calls for the board to approve a long-term service agreement with the selected provider (to be determined). Originally, Tabelski planned for a capital cost not to exceed $25,000 to complete the internet fiber project.

In another development, Council forwarded a resolution to the Dec. 14 Business Meeting that grants the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation access to a small parcel of the Dwyer Stadium property at 267 Bank St. for environmental contamination cleanup in connection with remedial work at the Batavia Iron and Metal site next door, at 301 Bank St.

Previously, the DEC was given permission to access land at 299 Bank St., which also is part of the Dwyer Stadium property. Additional remedial work is scheduled for that parcel as well.

Tabelski, in a memo dated Nov. 16, wrote that the DEC expects minimal disturbance in the Dwyer Stadium parking area (267 Bank St.). She said the DEC plans to solicit bids for a contractor next spring and start work in the late summer or early fall.

City Attorney George Van Nest said that the city will be protected through insurance and access agreements with the chosen contractor.

A letter from the DEC to the city indicated that remedial activities generally will include “excavation and offset disposal of contaminated soils and sediment, soil sampling, backfilling excavations with clean soil, surveying and property restoration.”

The DEC is responsible for all expenses involved in the cleanup operation.

State Street woman fears for her safety, calls upon Council and police to step in

By Mike Pettinella

A young woman who resides on State Street in the vicinity of Lewis Place and Hutchins Place says she is concerned for her safety due to the ongoing incidents in the neighborhood, and she wants Batavia City Council to do something about it.

Speaking during the public comments portion of Monday night’s Council meeting, the woman (whose name is not being published by The Batavian) said she’s “pretty much at my breaking point with this community.”

She said she has lived on State Street for about 12 years and has volunteered her time to several organizations. She said she is dismayed by the lack of respect shown to police officers by some of her neighbors and worn out by the things she has had to endure.

“That’s why I’m here today to reach out and see what we can do about this situation,” she said.

She said she has had her garden destroyed, car windows smashed and trash dumped onto her property (which she had to pay to have removed), and has had to put up with fireworks at all hours of the day and night as well as constant commotion.

“People working at home (as in her case) have to deal with this 24 hours a day,” she said, adding that she has sent dozens of videos of these incidents to City officials. “We put our jobs and our livelihoods at risk because there are so many altercations outside – you can’t have a conversation with a customer service rep on the phone.”

She said that when she called and sent the videos, the “answer to that was to open the spray park (at Austin Park).”

“But that’s not enough. That spray park has been open for years and it has not stopped anything,” she said. “I live in constant fear. I’m afraid to be here – what if somebody sees that I was here, what’s going to happen to my house and my garden, my livelihood at that point.”

She also said she has been sexually harassed, but despite all of this, she continues “to try and try and try” and asked, “What can we do to solve this?”

The woman also talked about the declining property values in the area, specifically a neighbor whose home was assessed for $71,000, but ended up selling for $11,000.

Council members Rose Mary Christian and Patti Pacino responded to the woman’s pleas.

“I’m ashamed that people have to be harassed,” Christian said. “I want something done about it. The lady and her family shouldn’t have to be fearful.”

Pacino said she was “appalled (to know) that she is afraid to go home after coming to this meeting.”

Police Chief Shawn Heubusch said that he has added a new detail of two officers who are in that area five days a week for eight hours a day – and plans to run that detail through the end of the summer. He also said street surveillance cameras are operational in that area, and encouraged residents to continue to call the police department to report problems.

Council President Eugene Jankowski said this type of “bullying” can be stopped with the community’s help while Council Member John Canale, who acknowledged receiving a lot of phone calls and emails about the neighborhood, vowed to “get the situation under control.”

On another topic, city resident John Roach inquired about the plan for Dwyer Stadium now that the Batavia Muckdogs won’t be playing this year – and maybe not again.

“Are you going to give it away? Knock it down and put something else there? Keep it as a memorial?” Roach asked.

Council Member Robert Bialkowski said Public Works Director Matt Worth has spoken with the teams and the (New York-Penn) league.

“They do have a lease and they are working to get a straight answer,” Bialkowski said. “We do have some other plans, such as college baseball. There are some other options to look into. It is on all of our minds.”

Acting City Manager Rachael Tabelski said she wasn’t aware of recent developments, noting that she has spoken to Worth many times about college or semi-pro teams that could come in to fill the void left by the departure of Minor League Baseball.

Tabelski said she understood that the lease runs through next season.

“If someone like a community group wanted to use that field or another team wanted to use it, they would still have to go through the (NY-)Penn League to get permission to do so. The city couldn’t grant that type of access to the stadium due to the lease that they have,” she said.

Photo: Sunset at Dwyer Stadium

By Howard B. Owens


Kayla McIntire shared this photo with us of sunset at Dwyer Stadium during Friday's Muckdogs game.

UR Medicine & Wilmot Cancer Institute presents: Batavia Survivors Night at Dwyer Stadium, fireworks follow

By Lisa Ace

UR Medicine & Wilmot Cancer Institute presents: Batavia Survivors Night at Dwyer Stadium
Saturday, July 20, 2019 • Game starts at 7:05 p.m.

Join UR Medicine’s Wilmot Cancer Institute in celebrating cancer survivorship as the Muckdogs take on the Mahoning Valley Scrappers. All cancer survivors and their friends and family are invited. Fireworks will follow the game. Tickets cost $5 each, which includes a T-shirt. Tickets are being sold at WCI Batavia, 262 Bank Street. Questions can be directed to Karen Soria at (585) 344-3050.

Event Date and Time

City Council discussion focuses on ways to handle neighborhood disturbances, violations

By Mike Pettinella

City Councilwoman Rose Mary Christian says the City needs to get tough with landlords and homeowners when disturbances that put employees in jeopardy arise, but just how to proceed can be complicated.

That was the gist of a discussion among council members, a city attorney and the police chief at Monday night’s Conference Meeting at City Hall.

“I’m tired of policeman getting hurt and firemen being threatened,” Christian said, referring to several incidences in recent months where police have had to be called.

She also called for harsher local ordinances that deal with grass mowing, trash, home maintenance and vehicle storage – even outlining a plan that would start with a warning, escalate to a $500 fine and court appearance, and ultimately putting the matter into a judge’s hands.

“We need to hurt them in their pocket; we just don’t do enough,” she said. “If we start hurting them in their pocket, we’ll get somewhere.”

It isn’t as simple as that, however, said Council President Eugene Jankowski.

“I think we tried this before (holding the landlord responsible),” Jankowski said. “But evicting is a 30- to 60-day process, and then the renter goes ballistic and trashes the place. We have to arrest the resident.”

Attorney David Fitch, filling in for George Van Nest, said he felt the discussion “was conflating some different things” since code violations are handled differently than criminal violations.

“With code enforcement violation, as the city attorney we would prosecute, but can’t hold the landlord responsible,” he said. “The goal … is to get compliance – paint their houses, cut the lawns, take care of the trash.”

Fitch said if residents don’t respond, “judges in City Court have no problem issuing a hefty fine, up to $250 per day.”

Chief Shawn Heubusch mentioned a program where landlords can check into the backgrounds of potential tenants and also get a description of what took place at the property.

“At our last community meeting, we talked about landlord licensing,” he said. “People in dangerous situations won’t call police if they think they will get fined.”

Heubusch said he “understands where you’re coming from,” in response to Christian, “as our guys live it every single day.”

Jankowski noted the many delays in processing violations, but Christian said it goes beyond that.

“If there are drugs (involved), we can take possession of property. If the landlord is aware of possession of drugs or dealing, they can bring the landlord to court,” she said.

“We need something that has an effect on our community. I would hate to go through another summer like we had this year.”

Jankowski said that landlords can evict tenants when a crime is committed in their house, while Heubusch said cooperation from neighbors is a key component in cleaning up illegal activity.

Council referred several draft resolutions to its Business Meeting on Dec. 10, including:

-- Lead agency status in the State Environmental Quality Review determination and subsequent zoning change ordinance for parcels comprising the St. Anthony’s Church campus on Liberty Street and Central Avenue.

The zoning designation, stemming from a request from City Church (owners of the property), will be changed from R-3 Residential to C-3 Commercial to allow for business activities, including a proposal to move the Batavia Youth Bureau there.

“These are the final steps of the zoning change,” said Matt Worth, director of public works, who oversaw the issue while serving as interim city manager.

-- A local law to amend the City’s municipal code to make Thorpe Street a one-way street for southbound traffic only between Watson and Maple streets.

During a brief public hearing last night, Watson Street resident Ken Wolter said he hoped that the change works and asked Council to consider making Watson Street off of Evans Street one-way as well.

-- The extension of one-year – through Dec. 31, 2019 – three agreements with Genesee County concerning water supply, operation and maintenance, and facilities lease while leaders work on a longer-term contract in conjunction with a long-term sales tax agreement.

Worth said the extensions contain “minimal changes,” most notably the county charging the city an additional 60 cents per 1,000 gallons – up from the current 60 cents per 1,000-gallon surcharge – to help fund capital projects to increase the water supply.

Also, as far as the lease of the city’s water plant to the county is concerned, the new agreement would transfer it to the county once the plant is no longer being used.

“By doing this, it would not be a liability to the city in the future,” Worth said.

He also said he plans to talk to county officials about including a lead services clause in the water supply agreement.

-- Acceptance of a New York State Education Department grant for $10,000 and a State Aid Recreation Program grant for $1,000 to assist with the start-up of the Teen City project, a joint venture of the United Way of Genesee County, Genesee County YMCA, City of Batavia and City Church.

-- The transfer of $585,000 in unallocated funds to several restricted funds per recommendation of the City Audit Committee.

“Funding reserves now for future liabilities, equipment, infrastructure and facility improvements has been, and will continue to be, critical in avoiding larger tax burdens in future years,” Lisa Neary, deputy director of Finance, wrote in a memo dated Nov. 21.

The resolution calls for reserve funds to be increased as follows: $150,000 to DPW; $25,000 to Sidewalk; $75,000 to Administrative Equipment; $5,000 to Police Equipment; $40,000 to Fire Equipment; $10,000 to Dwyer Stadium; $50,000 to Facility; $80,000 to Compensated Absence; $50,000 to Workers Compensation; $75,000 to Retirement; and $25,000 to Parking Lot.

-- A new three-year lease (through April 1, 2022) with the New York-Penn League for the use of Dwyer Stadium for the league-owned Batavia Muckdogs.

The proposed lease is consistent with the most recent lease and calls for a $25,000 capital investment by the City into the facility annually, said Worth, who noted that league officials have yet to respond to the City’s draft of the lease.

Worth said the league paid for field and clubhouse improvements last season and continues to pay all utilities. He said that $80,000 is in the current Dwyer Stadium reserve fund.

Dwyer Stadium infield gets adjustments as baseball season approaches

By Howard B. Owens


Crews from Batavia Turf and DuraEdge have been working diligently at Dwyer Stadium this week (these pictures are from Tuesday) to get the field ready for baseball season.

Local high schools will be able to start playing on the field soon and the Batavia Muckdogs open their season June 18.

Above, a laser on a tripod sends a signal to the grader in the background, which automatically adjusts its blades to level the playing field.

The infield was laser-leveled with the old infield mix and then a DuraEdge professional mix, the same infield mix used by the Miami Marlins, was applied and laser-leveled.

"Mike Robinson and his crew (from DuraEdge) do a lot of professional fields and they know what they’re doing," said Chuck Hoover, with Batavia Turf.

Hoover said the grass in the infield and the outfield was overseeded, fertilized, and top-dressed so it will grow into a smoother playing surface in a couple of weeks.

The lip of the infield was cut down and back about six inches so the lip of the grass is removed. There is a slight incline around the back of the infield. Robinson said it will take more time to repair that than is available before this season.

Hoover said the pitcher's mound, by Major League standards, should be 10 inches higher than home plate. It's just a tad lower. Asked if home plate and the mound were otherwise aligned, Hoover said, "They haven’t gotten to that yet — that’s their game. I’m not sure but we’re going to have to remove the rubber anyway to adjust things."

Once the infield is level, an overcoat will be applied, with a similar material added to the warning tracks.

"It will be a pretty red," Hoover said.




Dwyer Stadium lease terms transferred to NY-P as new 'owners' of Batavia Muckdogs

By Mike Pettinella

The prospect of keeping professional baseball at Dwyer Stadium is looking brighter after the Batavia City Council unanimously passed a resolution authorizing the assignment of the Dwyer Stadium lease to the New York-Penn League and its wholly owned subsidiary, Batavia Muckdogs Inc.

The NY-P has decided to step in and run the Short Season Class A team, which had been operated by the Rochester Red Wings for the past decade. The league ended the agreement between Rochester and the Genesee County Baseball Club Inc., in November.

“We had several conversations (with NY-P officials) in late fall, and they expressed a desire to stay in Batavia for 2018,” City Attorney George Van Nest said at tonight’s meeting at City Centre Council Chambers.

Van Nest said the issue of extending the lease and sublease is time sensitive since the NY-P hopes to begin assessing Dwyer Stadium later this month. He said the all terms of the current lease will remain the same – removing the GCBC from the lease -- and the extension will be in force through April 2019.

Councilwoman Rose Mary Christian noted that the Red Wings “removed their equipment,” inferring there could be additional City expense above and beyond the $25,000 it contributes to the stadium on an annual basis.

Van Nest said NY-P officials talked about improvements to the facility.

It also is believed that pre-existing agreements for local high schools to use Dwyer Stadium will continue. It is unclear if the NY-P will supply its own staff or use local employees, including longtime groundskeeper Don Rock, who attended tonight’s meeting.

In other action, Council:

-- Agreed to consider leasing three City-owned City Centre Mall parcels (known as the Dent property) to the Batavia Players theater troupe, but expressed concerns about the rent schedule, square footage and the ability to sell the parcels if desired.

Christian questioned Patrick Burk, Batavia Players president, about the number of employees, wages, volunteers and hours invested into their productions. Burk said there are 15 to 20 part-time employees throughout the year at their current location of 56 Harvester Ave., some who receive stipends that pay them “more than minimum wage in some cases.”

But Christian said she had a “problem with leasing any parts of the mall.”

“I want to totally get out of the mall,” she said. “I have a problem with nonprofits not paying property taxes.”

The lease agreement calls for monthly rent charges of $747.92 for months one through six ($1 per square foot), $1,223.86 for months seven through 12 ($3 per square foot), and $2,991.66 for months 13 through 60 ($4 per square foot). It also allows the City to sell the property, with 180 days’ notice. By multiplying the initial rent times 12, that comes to 8,975 square feet that the City would be leasing to the Batavia Players.

Councilman Robert Bialkowski said he found a discrepancy in the square footage, and asked if the City would end up subsidizing part of the maintenance fees.

Van Nest said he and Interim City Manager Matt Worth would look into the fees and square footage and provide that information to Council prior to the Feb. 12 Business meeting.

Council members John Canale and Patti Pacino spoke on behalf of Batavia Players, with Canale calling the organization “a pillar of the community” that would draw much activity to downtown.

“Plus, with the DRI (Downtown Revitalization Initiative award that the City received), part of it is to get the arts to the downtown area,” he said.

Burk said the Batavia Players are seeking more than $500,000 from the City's $10 million DRI award to fund most of the organization's relocation project.

Pacino urged her colleagues to “please put feet on the street downtown” by leasing space to Batavia Players.

In the end, Council voted to move the proposal to the Feb. 12 meeting contingent upon an accurate count of the square footage to be leased.

-- Moved resolutions concerning the 2018-19 budget, water rate changes, Business Improvement District plan and City Centre concourse user fee local law amendments (see preview story below) to the Feb. 12 Business meeting.

-- Agreed to consider a contract with In Site: Architecture LLP, of Perry, to assess the deteriorating condition of the pillars at the north entrance of Redfield Parkway, and conduct design work as required related to lighting, preparation of bid documents, construction specifications, bidding coordination and construction administration at a cost of $4,860.

Worth said In Site: Architecture has an outstanding track record of historic work, and called its bid a “soup to nuts proposal.”

Earlier, Council heard from city resident John Roach, who asked that if it was possible to create a special use taxing district – likely consisting of residents on or near Redfield Parkway -- to pay for the repairs.

“The study will cost $4,800 and it may take $17,000 to fix them (the pillars),” he said. (A special taxing district) would raise money to pay for the pillars without irritating the rest of us.”

Worth and Van Nest said they will look into that.

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