SCHENECTADY – The Schenectady Softball Cricket Association is proposing to maintain and upgrade Grout Park, but city officials say they want to hear from another cricket organization that uses the field for league play.
Councilwoman Marion Porterfield presented the proposal during the City Council’s Health and Recreation Committee meeting Monday night.
After the meeting, Porterfield said she hopes the association’s plan would start the process of quelling longterm sparring between the cricket leagues that use the park.
Onkar Singh, president of the association, made the proposal but he appeared to have difficulty joining the council’s online meeting Monday night.
The Capital District Cricket Association uses the field for hardball cricket Saturdays, and Singh’s association uses it Sundays, Council President John Mootooveren said.
On the suggestion of Mayor Gary McCarthy, the committee will explore seeking formal requests for proposals for maintenance of the park.
Singh’s written plan requested a longterm lease for the association, “the longest-standing cricket league in upstate New York,” to maintain and turn Grout Park into a state-of-the-art, multi-sport facility available to all residents of Schenectady, with summer camps.
The field is in bad condition, he said.
A building at Grout Park has been locked and barred from any usage during the association’s 16-year existence. It would be renovated and used for meetings, according to the plan.
After the meeting, Porterfield explained that the city has a “seriously long history with the use of park and playing of cricket in Schenectady.”
She said strife has existed between as many as three leagues for the entire nine years she’s been on the council.
“There’s been smoothing out on some levels but still things to be ironed out,” Porterfield said, adding that the city has made improvements to parks elsewhere, and granted leases to organizations for them to maintain space while agreeing to share it with other organizations.
Councilwoman Carmel Patrick asked Porterfield to invite the other cricket league to provide feedback to the council.
The mayor asked for clarity on what the association meant by asking for a long-term lease. McCarthy suggested a lengthy lease agreement could prompt an organization to make large capital improvements or spend larger amounts of money.