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Tallying the Misinformation

by on May 10, 2012

There has been a lot of misinformation spread by New Hartford Plus and the Friends of Brodie Park South in regards to youth sports’ use of town land for organized activities.  We will just tackle a few today,  because there isn’t time to cover them all.  I will skip over the old ones, like “football is forcing the town to mow the grass and to cut down trees.”  Hopefully, by now, we all are clear that those are completely false statements, although the accusations still remain uncorrected on New Hartford Plus’ blog, though she has been corrected multiple times by multiple people. 

This will be an ongoing, often updated post to quell these fabrications, because we are sure there will be many more…and off we go…

 1.  Football practice is ruining the environment.

The Friends of Brodie Park South have used a 2010 Environmental Baseline Report issued by the Northwest Conservation District to claim that youth sports’ use of the open field space at Brodie Park South is destroying the environment.  Here are a few excerpts from the report:

 “There are local initiatives concerned with the conversion of the grassland compartment. Such development includes the construction of a senior center and the creation of ball fields, among other possible uses. This activity would cause a shift in structure and function in the floral community (and a decline of simple area) leading to the loss of grassland-bird habitat specialists including the bobolink from the western field unit.”

 “The expected outcome of the installation and use of active recreation facilities and a senior center would be a decline in human-sensitive species and an increase in generalist species and non-native invasives within the boundaries of Brodie Park South.”

“Athletic field projects on sloping land can be very problematic because of the large cuts and fills required to level the land. The sheer amount of open/exposed and disturbed soils during certain phases of construction can be staggering. Ball field projects require a strict phasing schedule that limits the area of exposed soils to minimize soil erosion problems.”

I will note that the report does say that care would have to be taken if a senior center or athletic ball fields were to be constructed on the site.  I says nowhere that kids running around on the field are ruining the environment.  I invite you to read the entire report here:

Conclusion:  There are potential environmental concerns with construction of an athletic field or a senior center in the open field area at Brodie Park South.  There are no environmental concerns with how it is being used today.  In fact, the report indicates that the mowing practices of the open field area are beneficial for grassland birds, butterflies, small mammals and birds of prey.

2.  There is plenty of space available for youth sports in town; football can just practice elsewhere.

New Hartford Plus recently reported that there is plenty of available practice space for our youth sports to practice outside of Brodie Park South.  They reported that the field at Antolini and Brodie North were being used one night a week, but the two elementary schools in town were wide open and available for football to move to.  We wish that were the case.  They were immediately overwhelmed with responses from youth sports coaches and parents, frantically trying to correct the information presented to the public.  In the end, it turns out that there is no “other” field open the 3-5 nights a week that football needs. 

Conclusion:  The facts are that all of the fields in town are being used 4 out of the 5 nights a week.  During the 6 years that New Hartford’s Youth Football program has been in existence, they have practiced at Antolini and they have practiced at Brodie North.  They have been moved from those locations to make room for other sports – most often soccer.  As a last resort, they now practice at Brodie South.  Hopefully, until another more appropriate space is made available, they will be allowed to continue to practice there.  If not, it may mean the end of the program.

3.  Football practice is 5 nights a week, from 5-9 pm. 

This continues to be reported by New Hartford Plus, regardless of the fact that the Steve Roth, the head of New Harford Youth Football & Cheer, has provided them with the actual practice schedule. 

August (prior to school)

Monday – Friday 6-8 pm

Sept – Oct (early Nov if they are fortunate enough to make playoffs)

Tue, Thurs, Fri 6-8 pm

Even now, after having been given this information directly from the head of the organization, it is blatantly and disrespectfully reported that practice is anywhere from 5-8:30 or 9, sometimes later.

Conclusion:  No explanation needed here.  When the head of the football organization says practice is from 6-8 pm, we believe him.  On another note, we doubt that parents would have 7 year old kids at football practice until 9:00 at night on a school night.

4.  Cars parked on the street blocking the road are a dangerous hazard, increasing the risk of injury.

It is repeatedly said by both New Hartford Plus and the Friends of Brodie Park South that the parents of the kids playing football park on the street on Niles Road because there is only room for 12 cars in the parking lot.  If you take a look at the New Hartford Youth Football and Cheer FAQs ( you will find the following:

Where do I park for practices?

Good question.  Parking is very limited at Brodie South.  There is a small parking lot that will accommodate some cars.   Once that lot is full, please park off the street on the NORTH SIDE OF THE PARKING LOT ONLY with your car facing the field (to accommodate more cars).  Make sure your car is completely off the street and do not park in/on any of the neighbors’ property.  PLEASE DO NOT park on the SOUTH side of the parking lot or the field (as that is reserved for coaches).

While I don’t enjoy directing you to look at New Hartford Plus’ website, if you take a look at an article entitled “Review of Revised Regs., Discussion of Conservations Commission Letter Of Concern Re. Brodie Park South On Tonight’s P&Z Agenda,”  you will see a photo with the caption “Cars parked along Niles Road at Brodie Park South as dusk being to fall during football practice on August 18.”  Please note the space for the cars to pull completely off the road, as requested by NHYF&C.  This is photo evidence, posted by New Hartford Plus, of the parking situation.  You can see that while not ideal, it does not look dangerous.  Cars are not “blocking the road,” it is very much passable. 

Conclusion:  Parking is an issue at Brodie Park South, as recognized by everyone involved.  While the football program is doing its best to keep everyone safe, maybe a potential solution to this problem is to expand the parking area, or to allow cars to park on the field – as they do during other events like the Farmers’ Markets or New Hartford Day. 

 5.  Excessive noise of football practice is disturbing to neighbors.  

Recently, letters were sent from the Friends of Brodie Park South to New Hartford residents, stating “whistles sounded shrilly & frequently…intensely yelled military style coaching commands resonated repeatively…commands followed by high volume group chants back by team members.  All this could be heard from well over 1000 feet from BPS”.

 The Friends of Brodie Park South presented a video at a New Hartford Rec Commission meeting on February 1, 2012.  The purpose of the video is to show how disturbing the noise is to neighbors, to seek commitment from the Rec Commission to immediately cease all active recreation at Brodie South.  I posted the link below – the video of the video begins at 3:36.  It’s my personal opinion that the volume is grossly distorted on this video.  I ask you to pay attention to two things – how dark it is on the field (the neighbors complain frequently about the lights) and how loud the crickets and frogs are compared to the noise of the kids and coaches.  Determine for yourself if this is the same sound heard 1000 feet outside of Brodie South.   A neighbor says after the video is shown that it’s louder from her yard than is shown in the video.

Now, contrast that to a video of practice taken by a parent of a football player.  Note that the sounds of the parents talking and the siblings of the football players are louder, being right next to the recording device.  Keep in mind the recording device is inside the park, so the noise would be even more diminished outside of the park.

Conclusion:  I don’t doubt that a neighbor can hear whistles and 150 kids playing in a park.  But by no means are they as loud as they are indicating.  When you purchase property next to open space or even next to a town park, if you don’t buy that land, you run the risk of it actually being used.  Please, listen to both videos and decide for yourself.

The Friends of Brodie Park South are going door to door with a petition asking the Rec Commission to schedule sports practice at other fields in town.  I’m confident that they are presenting their position to potential signers with many of these lies, misleading people into signing it.  We’d like to offer the opportunity for those that have been misled into signing their petition to step forward, privately if you would prefer.  There’s no shame in having been misled.  Or, if you’d like, sign our petition, where we are purely asking that the field be shared between active and passive users, as it has been used for decades.

The reality is that we all agree that Brodie Park South isn’t an ideal practice location.  There are obstacles.  The football teams would be happy to move elsewhere, given the opportunity.  The parents/coaches/kids do not want to be embroiled in a controversy.  They just want to play.  If everything goes as planned, thanks to the Board of Selectmen, the fields at Antolini will be improved and football will move there.  But as they have said, it will not be ready immediately.  So, temporarily, someone will have to practice at Brodie South.  If its not football, it will be soccer.  I doubt any team will fit in 12 parking spaces, so unless parking is expanded, there will be parking off the street.  The longer football season means that practice extends into darkness during the last few weeks.  They will need to be able to use lighting for roughly eight – ten hours over the entire season. 

We appreciate the reasoned approach that the Rec Commission and the Board of Selectmen have taken in attempting to resolve this situation.  We only hope that everyone can be patient.  And share.


From → Youth Sports

  1. I can hear the crickets quite clearly, and they are just as loud as the “shouting”. There must be some monster crickets over at Brodie Park South. I would stay out of the woods!

  2. New Hartford Held Hostage permalink

    Nice work.

  3. Lori permalink

    not sure if you noticed that in her last article the number of cars went from 50-75- both a gross exagggeration. I am glad that you accessed my FAQa that I made up before season last year about parking 🙂 Another thing to keep in mind, there are specific rules that we have to follow from the CTYFL – we’re limited in the hours we may practice each week. Just keep shaking my head at the nonsense – please FOBS just go save the whales and let the kids alone.

  4. Neil permalink

    Good work & I look forward to more mythbusting and truth telling! Are you sending these to that other New Hartford blog and to the Register-Citizen?

    Here is something I did last October in response to receiving a myth filled alarmist phone call from a neighbor –


    I followed up your Friday phone call to me with:

    – a conversation with one of the football coaches Saturday morning (he’s a prior officer, too)
    – a conversation with Rec Commission member Rick Berneike Saturday morning
    – a conversation with First selectman Dan Jerram Saturday morning
    – a visit to BPS Monday evening
    – a phone conversation with Rec Commission Chairman John Maschi Monday morning
    – a visit to the football/cheer website Tuesday afternoon
    – a visit to BPS Tuesday evening

    Here’s some of what you told me on the phone Friday and what I know or recently learned:

    – “Lights are being used for football practices.” –
    As I said at the WHLSPOA meeting, football was told by the rec director not to use lights. The rec position position has not changed – the park closes at sunset and that is posted. Yes, they are now using lights. The violation has been reported to the First Selectman by rec.

    – “They have been doing it ALL summer.” –
    Football practice began on August 1. Summer began on June 21.
    Because of earlier darkness, the lights have been used for approx. three weeks and will stop soon, for a total of approx. four weeks. They have not been practicing all summer or using lights all summer.

    – “There were 100 cars parked at BPS Friday.”
    The coach told me he counted cars Friday night and there were approx. 35. I counted 18 Tuesday night, including mine. As I mentioned Friday on the phone, my wife & I drive on Niles every Wednesday and see the parked cars of football parents. What we have seen doesn’t come close to 100 cars.

    – “BPS is a nature preserve.”
    BPS is a part of Brodie Park, a Town of New Hartford Park, not a nature preserve. I know of no written information or town officials who say it is a nature preserve.

    As I drove on Niles to BPS Tuesday evening, I saw the light but didn’t hear the generator until I got out of the car in the parking area. I made sure my radio was off, and the heater blower was also off. It was striking how quiet the generator is. I have professional experience with portable generators and was impressed with that one’s low noise. I also walked over to the foot of the driveway of the house across the street to listen. The loudest noises were children’s voices and coaches’ whistles.

    Regardless of the low noise level, it does bother me they are violating the “closed at sunset” rule.


    (BTW – since I wrote that last October, I have learned more about football’s use of lights, use of lights in other NH parks, the “closed at sunset” rule, the Rec position, etc. and have changed my mind about football’s use of lights.)

    • Thanks Neil! That’s stuff not a lot of people knew.

      They read what NH+ and FoBPS throws out, and never hear anything else. Unfortunately that makes people believe distortions. Not many people have the time or the inclination to drive out and find out for themselves like you did.

      I hope people start paying attention.

  5. Heather permalink

    Great work! Thank you for bringing some truth to the perpetual madness!

  6. The guy that took that video – that’s not the guy complaining about a football boycott is it? I heard about somebody from FoBPS running ON THE FIELD, sticking the camera in the kids faces, that some parents got real upset about. I hope that’s not the guy worried about his business now.

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