ROTTERDAM -- Town officials say they want to help the Rotterdam Pop Warner youth football program find a new access point to its field off Remsen Street, since a pending land sale is threatening to cut off its existing access.
"You have my commitment to work out something that works for everyone," Town Supervisor Steven A. Tommasone told more than two dozen Pop Warner supporters and players who came to a Town Board meeting on Wednesday seeking a solution.
The town may be able to create a new access using an unconstructed "paper street," Tommasone said, or there may be other solutions.
The problem for those who support the football program and associated cheerleading team is that the field, which the program leases from the Galesi Group and adjoins its industrial park, has been accessed from 103 Remsen St., a 2.91-acre parcel with a building on it owned by the Mohonasen Central School District, which has been trying to sell it.
A local towing company wants to buy the property from the school. It has presented plans to the town Planning Commission that would include rehabilitating the deteriorating building as a garage and use the property for vehicle storage, with new security fencing. That threatens to end the Pop Warner access, which does not appear to have any legal standing. Planning Commission members have noted it as an issue.
Several Pop Warner supporters spoke in support of the program at the Town Board meeting. Donna Cleveland, a member of the Pop Warner board, said the program has been aware that Mohonasen wanted to sell the building, but has never had the funds to buy the property for themselves.
Tommasone, who said he lives across the street from the field, said the area is zoned for industrial use and the towing company's application appears to comply with the town zoning codes. Based on that, he said the town can't block the real estate transaction, and he wants to support growing local small businesses like the towing company, AC Towing and Recovery. The town's "paper street" could be one answer, he said, but there may be others.
"Everyone wants a solution, and so do I," Tommasone said.
While other access to the field would provide a short-term solution, Tommasone and Councilman Evan Christou said the long-term solution may be to find land for a large town park complex in the western part of the town, big enough for town-owned athletic fields, eliminating the kind of arrangement that Pop Warner has had to make.
"At the end of the day, the field is still on private property," Christou said.