With the help of ex-First Selectman Bill Baxter, Rec Commission Chairman John Maschi and Rec Commission member Dan Eddy, Rec’s Football program left the negotiating table on Tuesday evening with everything it had come to get: The whole Football program – which had 125+ kids enrolled in it last year – will continue to hold practices at Brodie Park South, with practices taking place from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., 5 nights per week in August and 3 nights per week from September to mid-November. The program will be allowed to use lights powered by generators to continue practice after dark in the town park and their vehicles (an average of 50 per practice) will be parked both on the street, parallel to the park and on the grass inside the park. Dan Eddy suggested to the Football representatives that they consider holding their practices further back in the fields behind the trees so as to help cut down the noise in the neighborhood, and more importantly, to lessen the perception of so many people using the fields. Football will also be allowed to park a storage POD at one of the auxiliary entrances to the park to allow them to store their equipment on site.
The two representatives of the Friends of Brodie Park South at the meeting were allowed by ex-First Selectman Bill Baxter (who had been selected by Rec to moderate the meeting), to read a two-page statement detailing some of the unacceptable behaviors of some members of the Football program last year, such as their shining their car lights at an elderly woman’s home for long periods of time, and their retaliation against some of the Friends of Brodie Park South which included boycotting a local business and calling advertisers of another business to pressure them to stop advertising with the business in question.
The representatives of the Friends of Brodie Park South asked for the Football program to move to either New Hartford Elementary School or to Antolini School, both of which have the infrastructure to accommodate the program, or to any other place that would meet their needs. The Friends of Brodie Park South also asked if Football could break its program into two and have two teams practicing at any one location instead of four to minimize their impact on the area they practice in. Neither another location nor the breaking up of the Football program for practices was possible, the Football representatives maintained, and no one else at the negotiating table supported either suggestion.
The Friends of Brodie Park South were assured by the Football representatives at the table that they would assign parents to manage the parking situation and that they would try to ensure that the unacceptable behaviors didn’t reoccur.
Football’s presence at Brodie Park South is only temporary, the Friends of Brodie Park South were told by the Rec representatives: It will only be a couple of years before the improvements at the Antolini School will be finished and the Football program will move to that permanent location, they were assured.
Once the Football program moves from Brodie Park South, the Friends of Brodie Park South were informed by Rick Berneike, co-president of Soccer, following the Rec Commission’s May 2 meeting, that Soccer will then be holding practices at Brodie Park South 5 days per week.
Thanks are due to ex-First Selectman Bill Baxter, Rec Commission Chairman John Maschi and Rec Commission member Dan Eddy for considering the requests of the residents of New Hartford, as represented by the two members of the Friends of Brodie Park South at the meeting, before allowing Rec’s Football program to continue its use of Brodie Park South for the foreseeable future.
The video of this meeting will be added to this report as soon as it is processed by the NHPlus crew.