Mercy can continue to use Mattituck sports field

03/18/2011 3:56 PM |

BETH YOUNG PHOTO | McGann-Mercy lacrosse players practicing on the Aldrich Lane field on Thursday

McGann-Mercy High School can still hold lacrosse practices on the Mattituck Park District’s fields on Aldrich Lane in Laurel.

After nearly two hours of debate Thursday night, the Mattituck-Cutchogue school board agreed to support to the Riverhead school’s use of the fields, provided the park district requires McGann-Mercy to include Mattituck-Cutchogue School in its liability insurance policy. The three fields on Aldrich Lane are managed by the park district, but a third of the land belongs to the Mattituck-Cutchogue School District.

The Mattituck Soccer Club recently launched a campaign opposing McGann-Mercy’s use of the fields, citing concern that lacrosse players would damage the grass and could endanger soccer players using an adjacent field at the same time.

Mattituck Soccer Club coach Joe Vasile-Cozzo said he was concerned that Mattituck’s own lacrosse team is playing on an inferior field at Strawberry Fields. Former town councilman Dan Ross, who has also coached soccer, raised questions on permitting a private organization to use public fields. McGann-Mercy is a Catholic school run by the Diocese of Rockville Centre.
In response, Charlie Zaloom, chairman of the park district’s board of commissioners who voted in favor of the McGann-Mercy agreement with the majority in a park district vote last week, said the park district did not receive a request from Mattituck’s lacrosse team to use the fields this year.

The park district’s contract with the Mattituck-Cutchogue school district to manage the land has expired. Park district representatives said the fields are being maintained in accordance with the old agreement. Park commissioners and school board members agree that a new deal needs to be negotiated.

In related news, the district agreed Thursday to put its long-anticipated plan to replace its outdated track on hold due to the economic downturn.

“I’m the biggest proponent of [replacing the track], but I agree,” said School Board President Jerry Diffley.

Park district attorney Eileen Powers, whose daughter is a student at McGann-Mercy, said she found the reason the lacrosse team wants to use the Aldrich Lane fields ironic. The private school’s own lacrosse field is in the center of its track, which Mercy needs to use to host teams like Mattituck that don’t have tracks suitable for competition.

Good grades for school finances
During Thursday’s meeting, district auditor Frank Perry of the Patchogue firm Rizzi, Schwarz & Taraskas gave the school glowing grades for its financial management of purchase orders and payments.

The biannual claims audit showed that just 3.4 percent of the district’s purchase orders were issued after purchases were made. It also reports that 2.7 percent of requests for checks did not include compete information and that just .5 percent of checks issued by the district contained errors.

Mr. Perry said that many districts have some inconsistent purchase orders at the beginning of the school year, when they are racing to get the school ready for students to return.

“Mattituck is near the top,” he said. “The documentation that is in place is top drawer.”

“All in all it’s a pretty clean report,” said Mr. Diffley. “Mr. Perry said we’re better than Southold.”

Labs to be rebuilt
The school district will need to rebuild two chemistry labs after a sump beneath the floors began filling up with water and overflowing.

Board member Douglas Cooper, who serves as liaison to the school’s buildings and grounds committee, said the lab floors were graded incorrectly and that the warranty on the work has expired. The district is currently working up a project cost projection.
Mr. Cooper said that the sump only needs to be pumped out every two years. It was recently pumped but will eventually need to be replaced.

“It’s a summer project for one of these summers,” he said.

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5 Comment

  • Thank you Mr. Zaloom!

  • I commend Charlie Zaloom and the school board for making balenced decisions that takes into account all the parties concerned. It is refreshing to see people make objection decisions without pre-existing agendas.

  • Dan Ross’s comments make no sense. He questions the park district allowing a “private organization to use public fields” Well, Mattituck Soccer Club, Inc. is a PRIVATE CORPORATION. They charge fees and you must pay to play. They sign up people from all over the east end to play at aldrich lane. Seems to me that they’re trying to bully everyone from using aldrich.

  • I hope that Mr. Gatz, who is both a Head Coach at Mattituck Soccer, and a member of the School Board, made a full disclosure of his conflict of interest, did not participate in the discussion on the topic, and then recused himself from voting on the issue. Anything else would be unethical.

  • Shame on Mattituck/North Fork Soccer Club. Bill, Joe, Nick (both soccer coach + park trustee), Dan, Jay and Ed, my sons and daughters have all played soccer with you over the years for Mattituck Club teams. Some of you were their coaches (and some still are ). You are/were all fine coaches, well respected, teaching our children not only skills but SPORTSMANSHIP and this is why your current actions are very disappointing. Your deeds and words speak loudly and are glaring examples of poor sportsmanship. Not something I wish my children to emulate. Many excuses to grass seeding, private school ect… but none very convincing or valid. Mattituck Soccer Club is an incorporated private entity (sorry Dan but you used poor legal judgement when arguing the fields use by a private school/group may be against “public” policy) …maybe you would have us thrown off the fields too?

    Did you also not consider that several of your current Mattituck (along with many past ) travel players are also McGann-Mercy students who play school lacrosse? I am sure, all of you, would be the first to admit that they are a nice bunch kids… least that has always been my experience when they were my children’s’ teammates. But how do you think they now feel, knowing that their (Mattituck) coaches and club officers put up a very public battle to have them thrown off the publicly-owned Aldrich Park fields? It is my gut feeling that you have all come down a notch or two in their eyes and have lost some of their respect. If I were their parents, come June try-outs, I would start searching for a better soccer club, one that is less parochial, more welcoming and knows what sportsmanship is truly about! I might do the same for my child too because your actions and words were an embarrassment.