NISKAYUNA — The tennis and pickleball courts at Avon Crest Park are slated to be replaced.
The Town Board on Tuesday voted to accept a $250,000 reimbursable state grant to replace the cracked, aging courts originally built in the 1970s. The courts have been closed this year due to safety concerns brought on by a lack of maintenance, which includes a warped playing surface and fencing poles protruding from the ground.
Supervisor Jaime Puccioni said replacing the courts has been a top priority since she conducted a survey of the town’s public facilities not long after taking office earlier this year.
“There was one facility that really stood out to me during these tours, and that’s the Avon Crest tennis courts,” she said. “The courts are a popular destination for the vibrant, growing pickleball community as well as tennis enthusiasts who are using those facilities in the spring, summer and fall.”
Puccioni noted that pickleball is popular in the senior community and that replacing the courts will help ensure the town has amenities that align with the interests of all residents.
The upgraded courts are expected to be completed later this year.
Funding from the grant will also be used to create a small-dog park at Blatnick Park and drainage upgrades at the Babe Ruth baseball fields in town.
The town will initially cover the cost of the upgrades using money from its fund balance and will later be reimbursed by the state. Board members voted 4-1 to authorize the fund balance spending on Tuesday.
Board member Jason Moskowitz was the lone dissenting vote authorizing the fund balance expenditures.
Moskowitz, who voted to accept the grant funds, said he has no objection to the proposed upgrades, but said drawing down the town’s fund balance was not financially responsible and raised concerns about how the town would cover any emergency repairs should one arise.
He suggested the town hold off on the upgrades until they could be budgeted for properly next year.
“There could be an emergency at anytime where we need to utilize those funds from fund balance and tying it up for an unknown amount of time doesn’t seem fiscally responsible to me,” Moskowitz said.
But other board members, including John Della Ratta and Puccioni, noted that the price for upgrades would likely go up if the town didn’t act immediately. They also noted that the fund would be reimbursed at a later date.
“This we are going to be getting reimbursed for and it is going to a really good public endeavor,” Della Ratta said.
Contact reporter Chad Arnold at: [email protected] Follow him on Twitter: @ChadGArnold.