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Diary of a Mad Sportswriter: One vote down, successfully, two more to go

Diary of a Mad Sportswriter

Stan Hudy is a sportswriter for The Saratogian and Community News. He covers high school and youth sports in the Saratoga County area as well as writing a weekly book review on sports books. He's not just a "stick and ball" sportswriter, he's willing to take on any sport as well as any subject.

Friday, December 14, 2007

One vote down, successfully, two more to go

Stillwater and Mechanicville up next

After the Shenendehowa School District approved a $3.5 million upgrade to its athletic facilities Dec. 11 by a vote of 1,549 to 1,526, two other local communities are hoping to have the same positive outcome.

On Dec. 18 residents in the Stillwater Central School District will vote on two separate propositions, both involving the Warriors athletic fields.
Proposition One would authorize the construction of a multi-purpose artificial turf field at a cost of $870,500.
Proposition Two would authorize the installation of lighting around the playing field at a cost of $182,500.

If both propositions are successful, the total cost would be $1,053,000.
In a letter to taxpayers, Stillwater Superintendent Stanley Maziejka stated that the average cost to taxpayers would be $6 annually for 15 years.

On Dec. 20 the Mechanicville School District will also vote on two separate propositions, with only one having any impact on taxpayers.

Proposition One offers to repair the high school roof, renovate, update current locker rooms, secure the school cafeteria and update the current football bleachers. The proposition will utilize EXCEL Aid available to the school district and will not effect the current tax rate.

Proposition Two authorizes the repair and upgrade of the current pool and include the installation of lights to the current football field. The proposition will have an impact of $2 a year for senior STAR, $3 for a primary residence and $4 for a home with an average cost of $100,000.

“I have no idea how the Shen vote will impact us,” Mechanicville Superintendent Dr. Michael McCarthy said. “Hopefully the fact that is passed would help us for approval.”

The superintendent said the Mechanicville projects are at a smaller scale than the Shenendehowa proposition.

The second proposal could be hurdle due to the impact to taxpayers.

“The second proposition is really renovations to the underbelly of the pool and the pool itself,” McCarthy said. “Along with some lights which would really give us a lot better use of our athletic fields. In some ways it may be considered a frill, but it is something that the community has indicated to me often that they do want.”

Mechanicville athletic director and football/track coach Kevin Collins was interested in the Shen outcome.

“I wasn’t surprised by the turnout, especially with the way costs going up,” Collins said. “It hits everyone in the pocketbook and they voted. It came out in their favor. I think we will get quite a few people to come out to vote and it’s a hot topic in Mechanicville.”

In June, Stillwater School District taxpayers voted down the two projects as a combined proposition. Maziejka wrote to taxpayers about the positives of both projects gaining approval.

Both projects would take advantage of current EXCEL Aid and if not approved this week, the projects would be “prohibitively expensive” in the future.

Maziejka promoted the flexibility of a synthetic surface for all sports teams in the fall and spring seasons, along with youth teams.

The addition of lights would also extend the playable hours on the field for the same groups.

“We’re hoping that Stillwater passes and ours passes as well,” Collins said. “It’s an opportunity for kids to have something to be proud of. They think of athletic events they went to or competed in.”

The Stillwater vote will be held from noon to 9 p.m. Dec. 18, in the middle school gymnasium. The Mechanicville vote will be held from noon to 9 p.m. Dec. 20 in the high school gym lobby.

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