City of Gloversville officials ask GESD board for July field use

Mayor Dayton King, Fulton County Center for Regional Growth President and CEO Ronald Peters and Councilman-at-Large Vincent DeSantis and approached the Gloversville Enlarged School District Board of Education during Monday’s meeting requesting permission to use Husky Field to host a Drum Corps International event in July. (The Leader-Herald/Ashley Onyon)

GLOVERSVILLE – City officials approached the Gloversville Enlarged School District Board of Education during Monday’s meeting requesting permission to use Husky Field to host a national drum event this summer.

Mayor Dayton King, Councilman-at-Large Vincent DeSantis and Fulton County Center for Regional Growth President and CEO Ronald Peters spoke during the meeting’s public comment section, providing details to the school board about the city’s opportunity to potentially host a Drum Corps International event.

Drum Corps International, otherwise known as Marching Music’s Major League according to the website, is a non-profit group that governs and organizes events featuring traveling groups of competitive drum corps comprised of members aged 13 to 21.

The event would be held on July 22 from approximately 7 to 10 p.m. at Husky Field at Park Terrace Elementary School. The price of admission has not yet been determined, but Peters estimated the cost to be $25 per person.

“We talked to our city departments and we’re ready to logistically make it happen if we can use the field itself,” King said. “I think this is a great opportunity if we can all collaborate together to make it happen.”

According to King, the city previously hosted Drum Corps International events in the 1970s and 1980s and typically once a city is selected to host they retain event annually unless they choose to stop doing so.

King said he didn’t know what city had decided against hosting an event this year, but it created an opening in July that was offered to the city. King added that the offer may not be made again if the city declines this year.

“We understand there is construction this year, but we think if we can start this year it will be a recurring theme here,” King said. “This would be a great step in the right direction to bring more events here.”

GESD Interim Superintendent Robert DeLilli acknowledged the concern that ongoing construction from the capital projects over the summer could pose a liability risk, going on to offer his opinion that the district could cordon off and supervise areas of the grounds that are under construction during the event to ensure safety.

Work at Park Terrace will include the removal of the tennis courts and running track to be replaced with additional parking and grass. The playground on the east side of the school will also be upgraded.

Students participating in the national touring event travel in buses, staying in schools near where events are hosted. King said that some area schools have already agreed to host the students and the city will be reaching out to additional schools.

If use of the field is granted, King requested that GESD consider allowing students to stay in one of the school’s gymnasiums the night before the event with buses to be parked off site.

To address parking concerns during the event, city officials are proposing to have the city transit department shuttle visitors to the school from parking lots downtown.

“The back of our minds is to get people downtown. There are several big parking lots downtown, we could direct them there and we could shuttle them to the field from there. We’re hoping that they would be having lunch there on Sunday,” DeSantis said.

Peters estimated the event will draw 1,500 people the first year including performers and the city officials are hoping to arrange an event downtown to be held during the day.

“The city is ready to welcome these people and actually do other events and develop some other things for them to do while they’re here,” DeSantis said. “It could be a significant economic development driver for the city and place Gloversville on a much higher profile.”

DeSantis suggested that the Downtown Business Improvement District and Downtown Development Specialist Jennifer Jennings could work together to produce an event, possibly encouraging businesses that are normally closed on Sundays to open or bringing in pop-up businesses and food trucks.

“We could expand the opportunity tremendously if we had use of the field,” DeSantis said.

King said that the city is prepared to complete an insurance rider for use of the field and would provide additional personnel during the event including police officers, members of the fire department and Department of Public Works employees.

“We’re ready to spend some money on behalf of the city,” King said. “We’re happy to get this opportunity, we don’t want to blow it quite honestly.”

When concerns were raised that the field would be damaged by the event proposed to be held four weeks before the start of football season, King and Peters said that the city was prepared to work with the district to repair the field if the need arose.

King added that the city would give the school district or a board approved school organization the opportunity to run a concession stand during the event.

The Board of Education members responded positively to the option, noting that operating a concession stand during such a sizable event would likely require a communal volunteer effort, garnering a large amount of proceeds that should be shared among schools or organizations.

“We work very hard in the city of Gloversville trying to bring people into the city. This could be a really important event. Like the mayor said, if we get it now, this year, we’ll carry it forward from this point on. If we don’t get it I think we might lose it,” Peters said.

The Board of Education did not take any action on the proposal, requiring a use of facilities form to be submitted by the city.

By Kerry Minor

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