District sowing transfer of Darling Field: official

GLOVERSVILLE – All of the property at Darling Field will soon be owned by the city, according to the city attorney.

While city officials noted maintaining the property – parts of which are currently being taken care of by the Gloversville Enlarged School?District – will be another expense for the city, 5th Ward Councilman Jay Zarrelli said he thinks the city can handle the extra work.

“I think the city can maintain it and it’s going to be a little more upkeep for DPW to do, but we can do it,” Zarrelli said. “They have been [mowing] half of it anyway and I’ll be getting in touch with [DPW Director] Kevin Jones to make sure that area is kept up nicely.”

According to a map of Darling Field provided by the city, the city owns the tennis courts, the baseball field and some of the soccer fields. The school owns the basketball courts, parking lot, garage and the other soccer fields.

At the Common Council meeting Tuesday, city Attorney Anthony Casale explained there is a provision in the deed and contract between the city and the school district from 1981 that states the property would revert back to the city when the district no longer needed the field for its athletic programs.

“The school district’s attorney is looking to see [the transfer of ownership] through, so this will be happening soon,” Casale said.

He said once the deed is given back to the city, all the property at Darling Field would be owned by the city.

Darling Field – which is located near the intersection of Kingsboro Avenue and Newman Street – is used by a summer basketball league and the Fulton United Soccer Club for activities, but the school district has had its own fields for years.

The property has seen its share of wear and tear over the years; Many of the bleachers are rusted and broken, the parking lot has had a number of divots in it.

When Casale was asked whether the school district has any liability to assist in the repair of its current property at the field, he declined comment.

Mayor Dayton King said the addition of Darling Field will be an added expense for the city, noting more land the public can use will lead to higher insurance payments.

“Unfortunately, what I think happened was [the school district] stopped using that field for football a long time ago, but it was convenient to park their buses there so they kept it. Now they really don’t have a use for it, so they are going to follow the deed and [the city] gets it,” King said.

The district parked buses at the field until its transportation facility was built.

King said on a positive note, the previous issue about “who owns what” at the field will no longer be a problem.

The exact parts of the field owned by the city or school district was the subject of debate earlier this year when a city resident approached officials about repairing a basketball court to start a summer basketball league. The organizer, Harley Fuller, later decided to improve the court’s surface out of his own pocket.

The school district later contacted city officials to see if the city was interested in taking over the basketball courts at Darling Field, but city officials declined.

Zarrelli said the city gaining sole ownership of Darling Field – which is in his ward – will allow it to have more control over the parking issues that arise on Saturdays when the FUSC uses the fields.

“It’s a zoo and a real safety issue that needs to be addressed,” Zarrelli said.