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F-M turf's up! (again)

F-M community group raises money for district turf field

Fayetteville-Manlius turf field advocates have found a way to make their dream a reality.

Fifteen community members have formed the F-M Community Sports Facility Association, a group that will privately raise the $1.8 million needed to construct the turf facility.

The F-M Community Sports Facility Association formed in the wake of two failed attempts to include funding for the field in the district budget. It went public June 6, and it is approximately $1 million away from its fundraising goal. The plan includes placing artificial turf on the existing field and minor upgrades for the track and other facilities.

"It's not an extravagant project," said Rebecca Pulver, spokesperson for the FMCSFA. "It's getting our facility near where it should be and near where our competition is."

Although taxpayers twice voted against the turf referendum, members of the FMCSFA believed that the field was necessary, and that support exists among community members.

"Within the vote, there were more than 2,000 people who wanted [the field]," Pulver said. "So, we felt there was a passion out there to have an improved facility."

Built in 1963, the current athletic field often becomes too muddy or damaged to use. To prevent excess wear, physical education classes, non-varsity sports teams and Pop Warner groups often must find alternate locations to play. At times, varsity sports teams are the only athletic groups permitted to use the facility.

As a result, district officials have embraced the community effort to improve the field.

"It says so much about our community when people donate their own money and urge others to also contribute," said F-M Superintendent Corliss Kaiser. "It is clear that they care deeply about our students, and they want to make the district better for future students."

Despite the fact that Kaiser said the district cannot afford to contribute money to the maintenance or replacement of the turf field, she applauds the group's commitment.

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