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Facility draws cheers, jeers

Nisky councilwoman publicly unveils indoor recreation center plans

A Plank Construction representative presented preliminary construction plans for a proposed indoors recreation facility at Blatnick Park during a presentation on the project on Thursday, March 15.

A Plank Construction representative presented preliminary construction plans for a proposed indoors recreation facility at Blatnick Park during a presentation on the project on Thursday, March 15. Photo by John Purcell.

— Residents expressed mixed reactions towards Niskayuna bonding $350,000 for a new indoor recreation center, with some calling it a wise investment and others a waste of money.

Addressing a standing-room-only crowd ranging from young children in lacrosse uniforms to seniors, Councilwoman Julie McDonnell on Thursday, March 15, presented the town’s plan to build and bond for a new indoor recreation facility at the former town skate park at Blatnick Park. Councilman Jonathan McKinney had urged residents to attend the meeting if they opposed the project, but those supporting it also showed up in force.

Many residents supporting the project expressed it was an important community enhancement, but opposing concerns questioned if the timing was right and worried facility revenue projects targeted to pay for the building could fall short.

“The reason why these clubs came to us four years ago is, because there wasn’t enough space. They were getting shut out,” McDonnell said. “We had practices at like 10 o’clock at night for little kids — you can’t do that.”

Since Center City in Schenectady closed, both the Niskayuna Soccer and Lacrosse Club have actively looked into having a similar recreation facility in town, and have raised funds to help fund construction of the proposed building.

“I would like to thank the town for continued support in bringing this project to completion,” President of the Niskayuna Soccer Club Mike Parzych said. “After three-plus years working on this project we do believe this is the best alternative both for the town and for the local sports organizations.”

Costs versus revenues

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

“This is the way we do things,” McDonnell said. “Being a town you can bond and you can have your low-interest rate available to have recreational facilities.”

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