On December 12th, there is a Village Board work session and on the agenda will be the new baseball & soccer fields at Croton Point. Part of their discussion will focus on whether or not our Village will extend the current agreement with Westchester County, to manage the two newly renovated fields.
Currently, the Village of Croton-on-Hudson takes all reservations for the usage of those fields. Local organizations get a 50% discount on the $150 fee for two hours of rental time, if they can prove that 75% of the players using the field are Village Residents. Not surprisingly, almost no one has signed up to use those fields all Fall. Hmmm? (Keep in mind, our Village has a severe shortage of playing fields compounded by school construction the past three years.)
Part of the deal with the county includes some Village tax dollars along with the school district, splitting maintenance costs. (Thus, the reason school teams can sign up for the fields.) Village Rec programs have also been offered the discounted rate, although I doubt Croton Little League or Croton AYSO could prove 75% of their players actually live inside the Village. Now the Village must decide if it wants to continue with this arrangement with the County. If they choose not to, the County takes full management of the fields back and charges everyone, from any town including Croton, the highest fee without any discount. Not good for Croton families!
Here are some things our village board should consider in making their decision: No one signed up because the discount restriction makes it far too expensive, along with the fact that few people new they could! Its called advertising. Our local Cortlandt soccer club has 102 players, 70 of which are Croton School District families. But even at 70% district families, they are still light years away from the 75% Village Resident requirement. Think a little further than six months ahead in time, please. Field shortages will only get worse now as Rec programs, clubs and school sports programs continue to grow. All our local fields are over used and will need to be taken offline for repair or replacement with turf, as time goes on.
I truly hope that the board signs up again with the county. But the current discount requirement is too restrictive, too shortsighted and obviously not profitable. Ease the discount Village resident requirement to a school district family requirement. Make it 60/40 or even 51/49, a simple majority. If you do this, you will be insured years of paying customers. Local customers invite friends from other towns and then those friends sign their groups up for field space. (At the full price of course!) And pretty soon you have the access controlled; money-making venture you originally hoped for. These are beautiful fields that could be available to local groups and school district families at a very reduced price. Dont be short sighted and walk away from the goose that laid a golden egg. Golden for our kids for years to come!
— Jonathan Weinstein, Croton-on-Hudson