Park upgrade moves forward

Stray golf balls can be a problem, especially when they are hurtling in the air toward your car or house.

The consequential dents and dings are just some of the reminders of how destructive the dimpled balls can be. People who live near the driving range at Blatnick Park know this all too well.

For years, the flight paths of wayward golf balls have left the yards of some local homes decorated with the efforts of amateur athletes; a situation that has drawn concern from residents and caught the attention of Niskayuna officials.

Additional fencing and a general upgrading of the park has been on tap since the town board approved it last year. The resurfacing of tennis courts and installation of additional fencing at the driving range will make going to the park a better experience, said Town Supervisor Luke Smith.

Cutting down on the number of stray balls escaping the park is one step closer to a realized goal as town officials last week opened bids from companies vying to resurface the tennis courts.

The price tag is expected to reach nearly $45,000 before completion. Funding for the work was included in the 2006 budget adopted nearly nine months ago and the cost won't add to local taxes.

In May, the town board approved the $5,000 purchase of 75 feet of fencing from Afsco Fence Supply to go along the right side of the driving range.

The resurfacing will not be completed until late August.

Town officials view it as a needed investment in the well-used facility.

This is pretty routine work on the park that will upgrade it and make some improvements, Smith said. "This is the kind of work we do with all our parks and it's something that has to be done."

Parks and recreation have been a key priority in recent years as town officials seek to provide a full range of options for local residents. Last year, Niskayuna opened a dog park that provides owners with a place to take their best friends. Adjacent to a ball field near River Road, the park is one of a few separate areas set aside for dogs in Schenectady County.

When it was approved, Smith noted that the new facility was part of Niskayuna's efforts to make sure that town offers recreational choices to residents. Town officials are considering the possibility of setting aside an area of that park for dogs to be walked without being on a leash. A vote on that idea has not yet been scheduled. ""

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