Recreation conversation in Saratoga Springs

The meeting hall of the Principessa Elena Society in Saratoga Springs saw strong turnout of area residents on the evening of Thursday, April 24, as Saratoga Springs Mayor Scott Johnson hosted the first of many public forums in the Saratoga Speaks series.

Johnson has introduced the quarterly meetings as an opportunity to speak face to face with area residents on topics impacting the city. The April 24 meeting focused on recreation programs.

What we can do presently to better define our youth to give them more opportunities, to help them become better and more productive adults " really comes under the realm of recreation and education," said Johnson. "The youth is the future of our community, and recreation is a huge component of growing up in any community."

Chief among the night's topics was the presentation of a preliminary concept for an indoor recreation facility formerly slated for construction on Weibel Avenue. As Saratoga Springs Recreation Director Linda Terricola explained, it was recently determined the structure would better serve the community if built at the Southside Recreation Field along Vanderbilt Avenue and Worth Street.

The Southside location will be easier for youths to bike or walk to, and already sits along a bus route, said Terricola. Conversely, most would have to be driven by parents or walk along busy Route 9 to reach Weibel Avenue, she said.

"You couldn't ask for a better location," said Terricola, who also stated that the Southside fields are currently underutilized when it comes to organized activities.

As currently planned, the facility will contain two full size basketball courts, locker-room facilities and community spaces for various events. An indoor walking track will ring the basketball courts. Some outdoor space will be retained, including the spray park area and playground. Indoor racquetball courts and a rock climbing wall could also provide a possibility for generating revenue.

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