Friday, September 30, 2011

To What Extent Can We Afford To Fund Sports?


At Tuesday's Greece school board meeting, the district's finance folks told us (again) that Greece Central has a backlog of $120 million in capital repair projects. Some $20-25 million was identified as "needed repairs/updates" to the district's sports facilities. This includes items like artificial turf, one (or more?)  lighted fields, outdoor bathroom facilities, yada, yada, yada ... the wish list for this is quite lengthy. Also discussed (again) at this meeting was Greece Central's dismal test scores!

In Thursday's Greece Post (9/29/11), the editorial shown below (pg. 10A) suggests that privately funded groups work together to fund & build a shared sports stadium capable of seating 5000 people within the Town of Greece. The author is Jason Benham, head football coach for Gates-Chili HS. He mistakenly suggests that "extracurricular activities are what set schools apart and attract new families and growth to their district." Anyone who has ever gone house-hunting knows that next to the location of the home, the ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE of the school district is what attracts those new families, not the presence of a stadium! 

Benham goes on to describe his pipe dream (and the surrounding neighbors' nightmare)  of a Fall weekend : "Friday night football game, Saturday afternoon game and youth football all day Sunday; mix a few soccer games inbetween." This sounds like a stadium operating 24/7 with the accompanying lights, litter, loitering, traffic, noise and other issues such a facility brings!

Recently, we heard from the folks that live along Long Pond Road's neighborhoods that they didn't want to "see it, hear it or smell it" regarding the building of a Bryant & Stratton school in that area. One person complained that they might have to view "people eating their lunch on the lawn." Given that, who in their right mind would want to live within 3 miles of a stadium like the one suggested in this editorial?

With the current economic problems felt by all, the embarrassingly low test scores produced by Greece Central's wonderful teachers and the rejection of further large-scale development projects by neighbors along busy streets in the town, I suggest that Coach Benham use his influence, if not his $88,000+ salary, to promote something MORE palatable to the masses right now. Perhaps his notion that we really only need two high schools in Greece, instead of four, would be a great place for him to start. Doing that might even help get our enormous school budget under control at the same time ;)


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27 comments:

Anonymous said...

Good review of his letter.
Is it possible that this is so well thought out that there is already a star chamber committee that has already looked into the feasibility for this project? That there is space as well as support from the business community? Maybe the group that was not allowed to have their soccer park in Parma would help fund it? Most of the players in that group were from Greece anyway.
Except for the fact that it would make it very busy down Long Pond, it sounds like a good idea. Especially if our students could use it for free and we would not have to fund the building of the project.

Anonymous said...

Actually some merits here. Maybe the spot suggested isn;t the best for a busy stadium, but in the right location, with the right traffic patterns, funded by local groups and not the school taxes, this might work.
We could cut the tax support for the large athletic facilities at each of the high schools and have one main sports areas. It works in other cities about the size of Greece.
Rather than dismiss this out of hand, let's keep the conversation going.
For starters, how about location near Canal Ponds? They can handle the traffic and have the access for visitors to come.
Now, how about funding?

SCATS said...

To 12:20PM ~~ Merits? If I'm not mistaken, there's not a single neighborhood in Greece that wanted to have a lighted field nearby! Location for such a facility was tried at Apollo, Athena, Arcadia & Olympia schools, and in each case, the surrounding neighborhoods said a very loud "NO THANKS!"

If you locate it near Canal Ponds, who will pay to transport the kids there for practices? For games? For championships? Who will fund ongoing maintenance? Future repairs?

What other cities has this idea worked in??

Anonymous said...

In each of those cases there was only a small school population and Light up Greece that was promoting the lights and they backed down in each case. This would be for the whole sports community and they are ready to roar with approval. The little group near the proposed Latta Long Pond or someplace else will not be enough to drown out the sports fans mission. If you think school of choice parents have power, wait till you see the soccer moms.

Anonymous said...

Practice at own high school facilities. Play games at the stadium. Draw straws as to which school is home team when two Greece HS's play each other.

I know that Worcester, Mass has a common lighted stadium for all the high schools (parochial and public) to play in. I think it was paid for by the business community. Don't know the whole story there, though.

SCATS said...

To 1:17PM ~~ It's an election year. No candidate will come forward to support such an idea. Right, Mr. Robach? What about you Mr. Conlon? I don't see that the residents of Greece will "roar" with approval, no matter where you try to locate it. Ogden didn't want a soccer park either. I say let's put it in Gates ;)

SCATS said...

To 1:20PM ~~ Aha!! Already you folks are trying to get MORE than what YOU suggested! 12:20PM said: "We could cut the tax support for the large athletic facilities at each of the high schools and have one main sports areas." Well, that means NO FIELDS FOR PRACTICE at the individual schools ;)

Anonymous said...

I LOVE the idea of a sports complex in Greece! The town of Greece is extremely unsupportive of youth sports compared to surrounding towns!!

Anonymous said...

Commerce bank Field at Foley Stadium in Worcester Mass.

https://www.bankatcommerce.com/pdf/Commerce%20Field%20Ribbon%20Cutting.pdf

Sounds like it would be what the man was talking about in his letter. It holds 4800 fans. It cost 3 million to refurbish. There was already an old stadium there. Ours should be less because we wouldn't have to tear anything down. Artificial turf too. They seem very pleased.

SCATS said...

Why do the words "Holleder Stadium" keep echoing through my mind? Oh yeah, we had such a facility ... and we tore it down ;)

Anonymous said...

What happened at greece athena middle school today? The message said it was a level one lockdown for a medical issue...rumors from thethe kids are that their was a fight and a kids head was beaten into a locker and taken away in an ambulance. Any truth to this?

Anonymous said...

It was originally Aquinas Stadium owned by that school. It could be used by other teams. Catholic maybe? And then it was called Holleder stadium when the priests sold it. It was used for concerts too! Lancers soccer? Then it became an industrial and business complex. Maybe the original stadium disintegrated.
There was no need for catholic sports stadium since there were so few catholic schools. Well at least there were so few students attending catholic schools.

Anonymous said...

Here is the story of Aquinas stadium

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Holleder_Memorial_Stadium

Anonymous said...

Scats,
You are right. Except;

Holleder Stadium sat 20,000
Was located in the City of Rochester
Was torn down in 1985.

SCATS said...

To 5:01PM ~~ When I said "we had such a facility" I meant the "we" of surrounding areas, not solely Greece. That was what the editorial author suggested wasn't it? A SHARED stadium for multiple sports. Where it's located doesn't have to be Greece, does it?

To 4:34PM ~~ I have no idea what happened at Athena today. Anyone know anything?

SCATS said...

To 4:34PM ~~ I posted your comment to Facebook asking if anyone has details. I'll let you know if I hear anything.

Anonymous said...

PAY CLOSE ATTENTION
You're completely missing the big HOOK you're about to swallow.

There's a little section in NY Education law that says New athletic endeavors school districts won't fund can be established with private funding.
Part B, AFTER private funding establishes and operates the endeavor for 3 years, the TAXPAYERS are stuck with it.

That boys & girls is how Hilton Central Taxsuckers got stuck paying for football and Ice Hockey.

Parma Sport Complex was a cration of Bernie Iacavangello to take some land he's stuck with and can't develope off tax rolls. Guess whose last divorce Bernie was the attorney on.

Anonymous said...

You don't realize how big high school sports is. The D&C devotes as many resources to it as it does to pro sports because it sells papers.

This part of the country doesn't worship it as much as they do in some other place like Texas and Ohio/PA, but it's still big. You don't think it attracts people to a town? I know plenty of people that moved in or out of Greece or sent their kids to a private school because of sports. People that moved within Greece to get their kids in a particular school so they could play on a particular team. It's big business and like it or not comprises about 90% of mentions of Greece in the media.

SCATS said...

To 8:09PM ~~ Very informative, thank you! Also, if it becomes privately funded & built, they must operate it under local ordinances, unlike school district operations ;)

To 8:46PM ~~ It isn't just HS sports. All sports are BIG. I get that. That doesn't mean they should remain as the tail wagging the dog (the school district). It also doesn't mean that people who enjoy them want a stadium within earshot of their homes, does it? Nope, I didn't think so!

Anonymous said...

No one wants to put up with the disturbance a stadium or equivalent facility would bring to a quiet suburban neighborhood. That's why Frontier Field and Stahlen Stadiums were built inside an urban area, instead of in Gates, Greece or Pittsford. While there are plenty of sports fans to support this kind of venture, the money is lacking, just like it was lacking for Selke.

Anonymous said...

Name one quiet neighborhood in Greece school district. please. You can hear the expressway in almost all of Greece.
Now that people are out of work they are doing home businesses that bring lots of traffic. That's ok people have to survive. But greece is very commercial.

Anonymous said...

You can only hear 390 if you are downwind of it, pretty much east of it. Where Steve Walts used to live is very quiet. Anywhere away from a major road, school and shopping plaza is still relatively peaceful.

What neighborhoods have lots of traffic from home businesses?? This is news to me.

Anonymous said...

A sports "field" out near Kodak Elmgrove could serve much of Western Monroe County and be easily accessible. As a privately funded facility, all sorts of commercial support could be involved.

Usage could be prioritized based on the amount of private support from a given coummunity.

Additional fees could be assessed based on preferred times of use.
Schools could pay those extra fees by adding on a ticket surcharge.

Everyone learns a little about free enterprise.

Here we go again with another of those WIN_WIN situations.

PS: how about a parting gift from Eastman Kodak to get things started.

SCATS said...

To 5:09AM ~~ Great idea! Let them play on tainted soil.

Anonymous said...

Unless they're eating the dirt by the forkful, there's not really a problem.

SCATS said...

To 3:27PM ~~ That depends on the chemical. Some are inhaled.

Anonymous said...

re: A sports "field" out near Kodak Elmgrove could serve much of Western Monroe County and be easily accessible.

Wait until the astroturf melts under foot. Then what?