A common complaint heard around Amsterdam is how there's nothing for kids to do. It's a misconception, given the many parks that dot the Rug City's landscape, along with active youth sports leagues that draw thousands of kids, but it's still a prevailing sentiment nonetheless.
Now there's one less reason for folks to complain. The city, in partnership with the Greater Amsterdam School District, is transforming the former Clara S. Bacon Elementary School on Henrietta Boulevard into a recreation center. This is a welcome addition to the Amsterdam community on so many levels.
On Tuesday, volunteers T.J. Czeski and John Sumpter, members of the Wishful Thinking group of volunteers getting programs at the center up and running, updated the Common Council on what's happening with the former Bacon building. So far, recreation basketball leagues play there for youths of all ages, and the group has added workouts for students ages 9 through 17. It's a good start.
There are several reasons why growing the recreation program is good for the city. It gives young people something else to do and one less reason to get into trouble. It represents a partnership between the city and school district, meaning neither entity has to shoulder the entire responsibility for the center. It keeps the city from having one more vacant building dotting the landscape.
Lastly, the involvement of the volunteer group is an example of community members giving back to their city. And plans to raise money for needed renovations means property taxpayers don't have to bear the entire cost of running the center.
On 7 p.m. Monday, 1st Ward Alderman Joseph Isabel is hosting a ward meeting at the former school so residents can get a first-hand look at the facility. City Recreation Director Rob Spagnola will give a tour of the center and will be available to answer questions from people who want to know more about it.
We encourage the public to attend this meeting so they can see for themselves how this recreation center will benefit Amsterdam.