There is no compelling argument against voting for the upcoming referendum to replace the turf and running track at the Michael J. Bragman Athletic Complex at Cicero-North Syracuse High School, as well as make repairs to the field’s drainage system and upgrades to the high school’s security system.
The project will cost a total of $2,020,000. The local share of $302,000 would come out of the district’s C-NS Athletic Complex Reserve Fund, which was approved by district voters on Oct. 14, 1998, according to Assistant Superintendent for Management Donald Keegan.
Because of the reserve fund, the project will have no local tax impact. The district’s foresight has made sure of that. How often can a municipal entity tell you they’ve already put aside money to ensure that you don’t have to dig any more out of your own pocket to pay for a project?
The money in the reserve fund cannot be used for programs or staffing, nor can any of the aid proposed for the project. All of the money is specifically set aside for capital projects. Why let that money go to waste?
And the turf certainly needs the repair. The turf has long outlasted its life expectancy of eight years. At this point, despite the district’s best efforts, the field has deteriorated to the point that maintenance costs have more than quadrupled. In some places, the turf is so worn that the concrete beneath shows through. The turf is unsafe and, if it’s not replaced, it will need to be closed.
Let’s not forget, that field is not just used for North Syracuse’s own athletic competitions. This spring, it will host the state track meet. Each year, it’s also home to the Special Olympics. These events bring revenue and prestige to the community. As the stewards of the field, it’s important that we maintain it to a high standard.
But the most important piece of the capital project referendum is the security upgrade at C-NS High School. This part of the project will provide teachers with something they specifically asked for after the tragedy in Newtown, Conn., last December: Doors can be locked from the inside with any school-issued key, but can only be unlocked by those with authorized access to the space. That will better ensure the safety of the school’s staff and students.
The vote take place from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 16, at the district’s regular polling places (Cicero Elementary for those living north of Route 481 and the district offices for those living south of Route 481). For more information about the referendum, visit nscsd.org/district.cfm?subpage=49410, and vote yes on Oct. 16.
Sarah Hall is the editor of the Eagle Star-Review and the Baldwinsville Messenger. The 2012 winner of the Syracuse Press Club's Selwyn Kershaw Professional Standards Award, she has been with Eagle Newspapers since 2006. She is a Liverpool native.