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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.

— “We have to think about what we are committing ourselves to in the future,” McKinney said. “There are a lot of things that are coming up to bond, those are opportunities to lower our taxes, it is not an opportunity to fill it with another tax.”

McDonnell said bonding for the recreation facility would not affect taxes.

McKinney also had questioned using parkland funds with the DEC’s residential building moratorium in town. Parkland fees are acquired through new developments in town.

Even with the moratorium in place, there were projections grandfathered in that McDonnell said will add another $267,000 to the parkland fund. Town Comptroller Paul Sebesta previously said after putting $100,000 towards the rec center, the fund would have a balance around $200,000, not including any projected revenues for next year.

“We have no major projects to do. We have no more parkland to build out. This is the next logical step and this is something that is a need,” McDonnell said. “People have come to us for four years … this is what the people that come to us wanted and say is their next recreational need.”

McDonnell said there have been similar funding partnerships in the town before, with the town bonding funds. She referenced the Niskayuna Soccer Park, for which the town bonded $390,000 and clubs paid 40 percent of the annual debt service. The bond for that project will be paid off this year.

Private versus public

McKinney has proposed a public-private partnership, with a private vendor borrowing the money from a bank and building the facility on town land. The vendor would hand over ownership of the building to the town and then lease it from the town. The vendor would also assume all management responsibilities and financial risk.

Supervisor Joe Landry said the board has already gone through the plan proposed by McKinney before deciding on the current proposal.

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