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Ballston Spa School District officials mull athletic fields needs

From softball to rugby and every sport in between, the need for field space is apparent.

With a growing number of available sports and rising enrollment in programs, municipalities are finding it difficult to provide playing field space to all of the teams in the area.

Town and village officials from five municipalities, as well as representatives from the Ballston Spa Central School District, met with sporting organizations, including the Ballston Area Recreation Commission, to discuss future field needs during a Mid-County Outdoor Sports Workshop Thursday, Feb. 28, at the David R. Meager Community Center in Malta.

The workshop provided a good representation of the various leagues in the area, said Audrey Ball, director of parks, recreation and human services for the town of Malta.

The workshop, also attended by Ballston Supervisor Patti Southworth, council member Kim Ireland, Ballston Spa Mayor John Romano and Round Lake Mayor Dixie Lee Sacks, provided an opportunity for community sporting groups to discuss their long-term goals and offer an overview of their service area.

"These volunteers fill an important niche in our community and provide services for municipalities," said Ball.

Ballston Area Recreation Commission Chairman Tom Slocum cautioned about the lack of practice and game space in the area.

"Within five years, we're going to be out of space for soccer unless we find some other place to play," he said of BARC's anticipated soccer program growth. The program primarily uses fields at Wood Road Intermediate School.

He urged the municipalities to work together in solving the problem, as the overlap of schools and towns in the area creates a large service area for the commission.

"I hope that municipalities can get together and find some common ground, literally, and foster community around schools because they are spread out around towns," Slocum said.

"It is difficult to meet both school and community needs," said Art Cotugno, director of athletics for Ballston Spa. "Obviously we have quite a few facilities, but they are pretty much used 24 hours a day, six days a week."

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