F-M athletic complex up for vote

After hearing another round of concerned residents who came out to voice opinions regarding the plans for a roofless athletic stadium at Fayetteville-Manlius High school, the F-M school board passed a referendum at Monday's meeting to put the issue up for public vote on March 5.

Some residents addressed the same issues that were discussed during the Jan. 7 meeting, arguing that the $4.6 million stadium would only benefit students involved in athletics. Others said the new stadium would be a symbol of community pride, and that the current facilities are insufficient in size, convenience and quality.

Paul Muench, who is a history teacher at F-M High School and coach of the F-M High School football team, was the first to speak during the public hearing segment of the meeting. He said the current quality of the high school's athletics complex cause F-M to be viewed as "impolite by our opponents."

"Other than the parades, there is no greater gathering in our community than the football games," Muench said. "It is the public face of our school, and a great opportunity for everyone in our community to get together."

Another proponent brought up the popular comparison that the resultant tax increase from the costly project would roughly equate to the price of a meal from Pavone's Pizza. During last week's meeting, the board announced that if passed, the project would result in a $5.30 per $100,000 of assessed property value.

One resident opposed to the project asked the board "how a $200,000 press box and a $156,000 snack shack serving junk food would benefit the students," and reminded the board and fellow residents that a 2004 vote on a similar proposal showed roughly three opponents for every one proponent.

F-M Superintendent Corliss Kaiser addressed the concern of runoff from the artificial turf field, saying that an underground drainage system would accompany the construction of the stadium so that nearby wells and aquifers would not be affected. Kaiser also said that the annual maintenance cost of the artificial turf field would be $7,500, while the current annual maintenance cost for the natural grass field is $11,000.

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