City wants lease talks

City officials want to discuss renegotiating the lease of Littauer Field to the Little Huskies organ
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Categories: Schenectady County

City officials want to discuss renegotiating the lease of Littauer Field to the Little Huskies organization, but the new Huskies leadership has yet to make contact, said Councilwoman Robin Wentworth, I-1st Ward.

Wentworth, a former member of the city Recreation Commission, proposed last week that the 8-year-old contract with the youth football organization be reviewed. Since the lease was negotiated in 2000, it has been automatically renewed at designated intervals.

The lease initially committed the Little Huskies to spending $4,000 to upgrade the field and at least $1,000 annually thereafter for maintenance.

At the outset, city officials embraced the lease because the conditions at the city facility, which had lights, had deteriorated. The Little Huskies devoted the money and volunteer labor to restore the turf, lights and concession stand.

But since then, there have been complaints that access has been denied to various organizations also interested in using the field.

Current Little Huskies President A.J. Allen could not be reached for comment Tuesday.

Former Little Huskies board member Peter Semione, a member of the Gloversville Board of Education, said if there is any friction with the city “it is unfortunate.” He said Little Huskies, which serves about 160 young players and additional participants in the cheerleaders program, has devoted considerable time, effort and expense in upgrading and maintaining the facility.

He pointed out the arrangement began at a time when the city was in financial crisis and no longer had the personnel or funding to maintain the field.

Wentworth said Tuesday the current group of Huskies officials should contact the city to set up a meeting to discuss the lease. Wentworth prefaced her remarks by acknowledging that Little Huskies “is a great organization and provides a valuable service” to children. But, she said, Littauer Field is city property and there needs to be an understanding about how the facility is used.

While the gates are open to area children to use as a playground, Wentworth said, the concession stand is used year-round by the Huskies for equipment storage.

Semione said the field is open to area children, but Little Huskies is reluctant to open it to the area’s adult soccer league or the Glove Cities Colonials semi-pro football team. Semione said use by the adult organizations would destroy the turf.

He said Little Huskies officials have had to combat instances of vandalism in which cars were driven on the field, the lights broken and the concession stand burglarized. Broken glass was thrown on the field and on one occasion drug paraphernalia was left near the concession stand.

The lease obligates Little Huskies to accept requests for use of the field and to permit uses “when consistent” with scheduling of Little Huskies activities. Little Huskies is allowed to charge outside groups to cover costs of reconditioning and maintenance of the field and use of the lights.

Any adult group approved to use the field must show proof of insurance to specified limits.

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