Soccer club seeks use of city fields

GLOVERSVILLE – The Fulton United Soccer Club is asking the city to continue to allow the club to have its practices and games at Darling Field, parts of which the city recently took over from the city school district.

“The Fulton United Soccer Club has used Darling Field as their facility for the last 20 years, and we are hoping to continue that,” FUSC President Jim Yanno said at a city council meeting last week. “We want to work together with the city to help improve Darling Field.”

Darling Field, which is near the intersection of Kingsboro Avenue and Newman Street, is used by a summer basketball league and FUSC.

The Gloversville Enlarged School District recently turned over its parts of Darling Field to the city.

Previously, the city owned the tennis courts, the baseball field and some of the soccer fields at Darling, while the school owned the basketball courts, parking lot, a garage and soccer fields in the middle of the park.

The city now owns the entire park.

Yanno said the club is seeking permission from the city to use the facilities during the spring and fall soccer seasons.

He said the club wants to help the city improve the park.

Fifth Ward Councilman Jay Zarrelli previously expressed concerns about the parking issues that arise on Saturdays when the FUSC uses the fields for games.

Yanno said the club wants to make the existing parking lot safer for children by making a separate entrance and exit rather than the current setup of one entry and exit point.

He said the league plans to spread out game times to limit the traffic.

Councilwoman Robin Wentworth asked if the club would maintain the property or if its expects the city to take care of responsibilities such as mowing.

Yanno said FUSC can do some mowing but would need help from the city.

Department of Public Works Director Kevin Jones said the city has a large mower to help maintain the field.

Wentworth asked who would pay for the cost of making the changes for parking.

“I don’t necessarily think we are looking for the city to put money into it, but have it be like a partnership,” Yanno said. “We would certainly contribute as much as we can.”

He said the club may want to use the city’s resources such as an engineer to lay out the new parking lot and bring in gravel for the parking lot to get through the coming season.

Zarrelli invited the club to the next public safety committee meeting so it can talk more about the parking issues.

Mayor Dayton King said the city wants to make sure the club is adequately insured. He said the city won’t seek any type of payment from the club because it is a not-for-profit organization.

He said the arrangement “would basically protect the city from any liability and allows the soccer club to have priority to that field during their season, for any games and practices,” he said. “We are going to work with them to hopefully make it a premier park for residents and other community organizations in the city.”

Levi Pascher can be reached at lpascher@leaderherald.com.