City allocates $16K for rec field work

Jim Loucks has been playing in Amsterdam’s recreation softball league for over 30 years. He said in
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Jim Loucks has been playing in Amsterdam’s recreation softball league for over 30 years. He said in that time the condition of city fields has deteriorated so much that if it rains on Monday, the field is off limits until Thursday.

“The ducks come in and they start playing in the puddles,” Loucks said.

There is also not enough material on the field, so Loucks said players often trip in holes on the baseline and get hurt.

This spring, softball players will find improved fields and city residents will have cleaner properties after the Common Council gave the Recreation Department more than $16,000 from the city’s contingency fund for field maintenance and to hire two employees to tackle overgrown vegetation.

Recreation Director Robert Spagnola said last year 19 teams played in the league and each team paid $300. He said now the money is going back into the softball league thanks to a $5,700 transfer from the city.

Spagnola said the city recreation commission members, who met earlier this month, decided to set up a dedicated fund for recreation softball to ensure the money each team spends goes toward field maintenance and supplies for the league.

Alderwoman Kim Brumley, C-3rd Ward, was the only council member to oppose the resolution. She said she didn’t want to take the money from the contingency fund, but she would agree to consider funding the initiative in next year’s budget.

Loucks said Amsterdam recreation softball league has been running for over 50 years and the poor field conditions have caused some teams to back out. At one time, Loucks said over 30 teams played in the league, and he hopes with improved field conditions there will be more interest.

“This will be better for attracting younger players and allow older players to stay in the league longer,” Loucks said.

The Recreation Department was given $10,400 from the city’s contingency budget to hire the two employees, who would also be responsible for cleaning up overgrown vegetation on city-owned properties and private properties who have been cited for code violations.

The money includes $2,000 for equipment and supplies.

Alderman Joseph Isabel, R-1st Ward, said last year the city was nearly 30 days behind in cleaning up cited properties.

“That was the single most complaint I had last year from residents in my ward,” he said.

Housing Inspector Luis Aguero said last year he handed out over 170 citations for overgrown vegetation on city-owned and privately owned properties. Aguero said hiring seasonal employees to deal with the problem in April rather than wait until summer would be beneficial.

“I start creating a list of properties in April and if they can tackle them immediately it will be easier to maintain the properties from then on,” he said.

Categories: Schenectady County

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