Glenville Supervisor Chris Koetzle will sit down with several youth sport organizations next week to discuss how the town can ensure equal use of town fields, ensure costs associated with upkeep are shared correctly and determine a better mechanism for scheduling use of parks.
The meeting stems from a letter organizations received from the town on Aug. 19, 2020, which stated the town would move toward a more formalized method for renting space at parks.
“That said, beginning next year, we will be moving toward a new, more formalized model for park rentals that includes set fees and signed agreements,” the letter states. “Memorandums of Understanding (MOUs) will more clearly delineate the privileges and responsibilities of each entity, both the Town as owner and the organization leasing the land. At that time, leagues can apply for a cost mitigation waiver based on field maintenance and improvements in lieu of some fees for park rentals.”
The idea of youth programs having to pay fees has raised concerns among organizations though.
Rick Frederick, president of Tartan Youth Lacrosse, spoke during a budget forum Sept. 14 on the topic. He said any fees would fall back on the players and their families.
Tartan Youth Lacrosse is for kids in kindergarten through sixth grade at Scotia-Glenville Central School District.
He said he considers any fee a sort of hidden tax and that the organization has always helped to maintain the fields it uses in Indian Meadows and Maalwyck parks, including cleaning the field and leveling it out with soil and laying down grass seed.
However, Frederick said the relationship between the organization and the town has always been good and he’s interested to see what comes of the discussion
Susan Torelli, the co-president of Fifty FC Soccer, also said any introduction of fees would fall back on the people that participate in the program and that the letter didn’t take into account what organizations have provided to the town while using the fields.
“The Town’s letter states that fee waivers are possible based on field maintenance and improvements, however, it fails to recognize past investments and the services that are being provided to the community,” she said in an emailed statement. “Thousands of volunteer hours are put into running community programs for the Town’s youth. Many other surrounding municipalities fund and run youth programs, but Glenville does not.”
Fifty FC serves over 600 kids throughout the year with both its recreation and travel programs, Torelli said.
“We are optimistic that our partnership will continue and are hopeful that the town will recognize the substantial benefit Fifty FC, and other community youth programs, bring to town residents, and that they continue to let these organizations operate without additional fees required in the future,” she said.
Koetzle said the letter was not only 14 months old but that he has no plans to include fees for the fields in his 2022 budget. He said the letter was meant to indicate to organizations a need to discuss issues that have come up as the parks have gotten more popular and the clubs have expanded.
“We’re not doing anything without talking to everybody,” Koetzle said.
Those problems include efficiency with scheduling all the groups that want to access the fields and ensuring no one is alienated from using a park, he said.
It also includes determining some sort of cost-sharing mechanism for the upkeep of fields.
Reporter Shenandoah Briere can be reached at 518-478-3320 or [email protected]