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Permissive referendum possible for rec center bonding

Debate continues as indoors facility rendering unveiled, residents could vote on proposal

A rendering of the proposed indoor recreation center was shown at the Niskayuna Town Board Meeting on Thursday, April 19.

A rendering of the proposed indoor recreation center was shown at the Niskayuna Town Board Meeting on Thursday, April 19. Photo by John Purcell.

— The ongoing debate over the proposal to build a new indoor recreation center is showing little signs of cooling down, but residents could have the final say on if the facility should be built.

At the Niskayuna Town Board meeting, on Thursday, April 19, residents got a sneak peek at what the proposed indoor recreation facility would look like once completed. The facility presented a Pre-Engineered Metal Building (PEMB) and it wouldn’t have any windows and there is no plumbing, according to a representative from Plank Construction Services. As the debate continued, a majority of the board members appear to support holding a permissive referendum on the proposal, which would allow residents to vote in support or against the project.

Councilman Jonathan McKinney spearheaded the proposal, which Councilwoman Liz Orzel Kasper expressed support for during the meeting. McKinney has expressed continued opposition to the project.

“A permissive referendum I think is a excellent idea,” Kasper said. “Listening to all of the complaints and all of the positives … I think that that is a decision that really needs to come from the voters.”

Kasper said the town is in “hard times” and the town needs “every penny” for the various projects it needs to do throughout town.

Supervisor Joe Landry after the meeting said he also supports a permissive referendum, but he said there is one caveat — “To get to a permissive referendum the bond resolution has to be approved.”

The estimated cost to construct the building falls just under $650,000. The town would issue a long-term bond $350,000 and use $100,000 from the Parkland Trust Fund. The Niskayuna Soccer and Lacrosse Clubs would contribute $200,000 towards the project, too.

Councilwoman Julie McDonnell said the town did additional research on operating expenses for the facility by comparing it to a similar facility and the estimates fell in line with it.

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