The next public information meetings will take place 6/21 and 7/1 regarding a proposed Community Athletic and Recreation Facilities Initiative. The 6/21 meeting will be at 9AM in the Fisher meeting room of the Pittsford Community Library (24 State Street). An additional meeting has been set for 7/1 at 7PM in the lower level meeting room of Town Hall (11 South Main Street).
The Community Athletic and Recreation Facilities Initiative consists of two components: improving Town athletic fields and constructing additional fields; and repairing and restoring the Town’s Paul M. Spiegel Community Center. The public information meetings each will outline the proposed plans, cost and financing and provide an opportunity for public comments on the initiative.
The Town of Pittsford has been working for the past two years on developing a solution to resolve issues related to unsatisfactory athletic field conditions stemming from overuse/excessive demand, the inability to take fields off-line to “rest” and regenerate, and grading/drainage issues while also addressing a need for improved handicapped accessibility to town athletic fields. Over the past several years the Town also has been dealing with increasing maintenance issues at the Spiegel Community Center and the necessity to address the long-term needs of the building. An overview of the Community Athletic and Recreation Facilities Initiative is below and additional information may be found in the following documents:
To address overuse and increased demand, needed offline time for field regeneration, grading/drainage issues, and handicapped access, the Town Board engaged LaBella Associates to assist in preparing a concept plan for the improvement and upgrading of the town’s athletic fields, with input from town staff, board members, community groups and the Pittsford Central School District. The athletic fields plan takes into account information gathered and assessed by the Pittsford Central School District’s Athletic Fields Use study.
The town’s athletic fields plan was developed in collaboration with the School District’s own fields upgrade project, which is currently underway; improvements to Town athletic facilities, in combination with the improvements at two Pittsford Central School District athletic fields, are being proposed to meet the overall current and future athletic fields needs of the Pittsford community in a cost-effective manner. Various stages of the athletic fields preliminary plan were presented to Town Board, with opportunity for public questions and input, in 2012, 2013 and earlier this year (see Athletic Fields Improvement Project Background sheet for further details).
The proposed improvements to athletic fields support the Town’s commitment to providing high quality athletic facilities and offering increased access to playing fields for youth and adults throughout the community. The project would improve athletic fields at the Town’s Great Embankment Park (631 Marsh Road), Thornell Farm Park (480 Mendon Road) and Hopkins Park (5 Barker Road) and create new fields at the Town’s Willard Road property. The proposed improvements include constructing or reconfiguring athletic fields, playgrounds, parking areas, sidewalks, drainage and restrooms and providing increased handicapped accessibility. A synthetic turf field with lights is also proposed at Thornell Farm Park. A more detailed description of the project’s proposed elements can found on the Athletic Fields Improvement Project summary sheet.
“The major problem with existing fields involves intensity of use, which impedes adequate preventive and ongoing maintenance,” said Town Deputy Supervisor Jared Lusk, who has overseen the fields project from its inception, as the Town Board’s point person. “In order to be in fit condition, athletic fields need to rest and regenerate. Due to the level of demand, that doesn’t happen. This plan will help correct that problem, providing more fields, and correcting drainage issues that frequently take our fields off-line. The upgrades will bring our fields to the standard demanded by current and anticipated use.”
Town athletic fields are used by a variety of youth sports leagues including those for football, baseball, softball, soccer, and lacrosse. Teams need fields for practice times as well as games, therefore athletic fields in Pittsford are in high demand. For example, Mustangs youth soccer includes 1,600 youth from ages 5 – 19, the Youth Lacrosse program in Pittsford serves 300 youth in kindergarten through 6th grade and approximately 200 junior high and high school youth, and the Pittsford Youth Football program involves six teams and six cheerleading squads. Adult sports leagues are also in need of field time. The proposed plan for athletic fields improvements includes charging a field use fee to groups using the fields; currently the Town does not charge any usage fees.
Spiegel Community Center Restoration and Improvements
The Town of Pittsford is committed to providing safe, comfortable and enjoyable facilities for its residents. After many years of deferred maintenance, repairs and improvements must be made to the Spiegel Community Center (35 Lincoln Avenue) in order to continue its role as the Town’s recreation center. The proposed Spiegel Center Restoration and Improvement project includes repair and renovation of the building and its infrastructure, including the heating and cooling system, plumbing, the roof, the elevator and other items. Exterior repairs and renovation of interior space is also proposed. “We’re at the point where repairs and upgrades have to be made in order to keep this building open to public use,” said Town Supervisor Bill Smith. “Doing this gives us the opportunity to bring the building’s appearance up to the standard of our other public facilities in Pittsford,” he continued. The Town has engaged Bero Architects as consultant on the project. A brief description of the project’s proposed elements can found on the Spiegel Community Center Restoration and Improvement project summary sheet.
Cost and Finance
The entire Athletic and Recreation Facilities Initiative, comprising both the athletic field upgrades and improvements to the Spiegel Community Center, would be funded by two separate bond issues totaling $9.5 million, subject to approval of each bond issue by voters. Should the Town Board decide to move ahead with the Initiative after the public information meetings conclude, the proposed projects and funding would be put to a public referendum for approval, likely to be scheduled for September of this year.
If Pittsford residents voted to approve bonding the complete initiative, in the amount of $9.5 million, the cost to the average home assessed at $272,500 would not exceed $67 per year for 15 years. Looking at each of the separate components comprising that total, bonding for the athletic fields portion would be $6.0 million, representing a cost to the average home no greater than $47 per year for 15 years; bonding of the Spiegel Community Center restoration and improvements would be for $3.5 million, representing a cost to the average home no greater than $20 per year for 15 years.
Upon completion of the public information meetings the Town Board will consider whether to move ahead with the Pittsford Community Athletic and Recreation Facilities Initiative; this decision most likely will be made at a Town Board meeting in July. If the board decides to move ahead with a final plan, both the fields and the community center components of the Athletic and Recreation Facilities Initiative will be submitted to Pittsford voters in a referendum anticipated to take place in September of this year (2014). There will be two separate items in the referendum – one for the athletic field improvements at a cost of $6 million; the other for the Spiegel Community Center improvements and restoration at a cost of $3.5 million. Therefore, voters would vote separately on each of the two components of the overall plan, with one vote on the field improvements and another on the Spiegel building improvements.
Public Information Meetings
Public information meetings regarding the concept plans for the proposed Athletic Fields Improvement Project, a preliminary plan for the proposed Spiegel Community Center Restoration and Improvement Project, and financing details for the overall Community Athletic and Recreation Facilities Initiative have been set for the following dates:
Members of the public need only attend one meeting; each meeting will include a review of the proposed plans and provide an opportunity for public comment.