‘Found’ money could lead to more playing fields

Although in the early stages, the Hartford Town Board hopes a move made June 14 will eventually provide more places for the town’s youth to play.

The board unanimously approved a motion to proceed with improving the language in a potential agreement between the board and the Hartford School District which could result in leveling of what was referred to as ‘the mountain’.

The 5-acre area in question lies just off of Route 149 adjacent the Hartford Central School, bordering the area of the baseball field west of the school.

The area was filled in by contractors during work on the school building project to provide a place for heavy equipment and storage, according to board members.

Hartford Supervisor Dana Haff said he proposed using ‘found money’ and volunteer workers and heavy equipment to get “something, rather than nothing” done with the area.

Haff told the board the town received just over $5,000 from the state for reaching 100 percent equalization.

The money had not been expected at budget time, Haff said, because the state had announced plans to stop paying municipalities $5 per parcel when they reached or maintained 100 percent equalization.

The state later reversed course and paid Hartford just over $4 per parcel, netting the town $5,316.

The idea, Haff said, was to get started and hopefully through the community effort provide a level area which could be developed into fields. Haff asked youth commission member Ron Smith if he thought he could bring together a group of volunteers with the right equipment to do the job. Smith said he was sure he could.

Members of the youth commission, Krissy Stewart and Jodi MacDuff, who spoke at the meeting said their group had questions they wanted to answer before going forward with any measure relating to the fields.

The youth commission members told Haff they did not care for his characterization of their choice to proceed cautiously as an abandonment of the field creation endeavor.

“What happens when the money runs out?” Councilman Bob Miller said. Miller emphasized the scope of the project and said he was skeptical if it could be done for $5,000.

“We’ll get done what we can for $5,000 and then we’ll stop. If we run out of money, we’ll stop if we find a giant rock the size of Manhattan, we’ll stop,” Haff said.

The board unanimously passed a motion calling for further development of the language in the potential contract with the school district. 

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