Cayman Little League baseball will soon have a great expenditure off their books.
The Cayman Islands Little League have $80,000 left to pay on a seven-figure loan. It was taken out over a decade ago to buy some 17 acres of land in George Town to establish the Field of Dreams facility.
Little League president Paul Gallagher states within the next calendar year the debt will be paid.
“We have about $80,000 remaining and a year left,” Gallagher said. “Once we make a $8,000 monthly payment over 10 months then we’d own the property outright. In terms of future development, it helps a lot. Once it is paid off we would have a better cash flow.”
The group took out a loan from by Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (now First Caribbean Bank) for a total of $1 million or US$1.2 million. Last March the league owed under a quarter of a million dollars, with estimates being around $200,000.
Little League has steadily raised money to service the loan through public contributions, team sponsorships, field rentals and annual fundraising events. The group is in its 23rd season, offering free programmes to local kids.
Gallagher states while the loan has been steadily depleted, other expenses have increased.
“Our daily expenses have increased with higher electric costs. For the conclusion of this season, we will take a hard look at the business of Little League and be as prudent as possible, in line with our fiscal year. That will give us a clear indication of how to move forward with future plans.
“Our main goals remain the same: to offer a free programme with the support of sponsors, with maximum use of the fields, that is free for all participants. A big thank you goes out to the sponsors for making it all possible.”
One of the issues Little League hopes to address is field maintenance, which is affected by oil prices. The current field turf surface has reportedly been in place 13 years. According to Little League fundraising coordinator Sara Mackay, the field is old and worn, having been under water for 36 hours in Hurricane Ivan. Mackay said that the new version of field turf would come with a 20-year warranty as opposed to the six-year guarantee seen on the present fields.
According to former president Stuart Knox, the current field turf had a maximum life expectancy of 10 years and is a petroleum-based product. Past estimates stated that it would cost US$1.8 million to re-turf all four of the fields at the Field of Dreams.
Gallagher states there are plans to implement new field turf.
“The number one thing we have to do is fix two of the fields. On field one and two we have to improve the dirt areas and we’re in the process of doing that. Sliding over it now and over the summer, it’s hard. On fields three and four, the life-span of the turf has expired and a full resurfacing of the turf has to occur within two years.”