Recreation conversation in Saratoga Springs

The move to a more residential area has changed plans for the facility slightly, according to Johnson. "Out on Weibel Ave. we could have put up a metal box and no one would have cared," he said. "We're trying to keep height down to lessen impact on the surrounding space." The facility will also be placed near the corner of Vanderbilt and Worth, and the parking area built in the back, both to lessen impact on nearby homes and put the entrance closer to the bus stop.

A few residents expressed concerns over area youth losing free play opportunities if the Southside fields are done away with. Terricola noted that the facility will still provide the opportunity for unstructured play, and will also be usable year round.

"Your children are still going to be able to go every day after school or in the summertime and utilize the facilities," she said.

Area resident Kathleen Christopher also noted that while Southside is currently seeing unstructured use, it often occurs after park hours and is sometimes unsavory. "This park situation has just degraded," said Christopher. "Anything they can do to improve the current situation is welcome."

Since the proposed structure would lie on city land, the project is poised to move ahead. Mayor Johnson said a more refined plan should be available by then end of May, and the hope is to break ground on the facility in the fall.

Also discussed was the construction of lights at the Geyser Park baseball fields. The fields already see heavy use and, according to Rick Stone, a member of Saratoga Spring's Babe Ruth Baseball Program's Board of Directors, the popularity is making it difficult for his teams to secure games.

"We are finding it very difficult to play home games on Saratoga fields," said Stone. The lights would allow for later play as games would not have to be called on account of darkness, and Stone said this could alleviate some of his concerns.

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