Amsterdam bocce facility under scrutiny

Mayor wants more active role for city

Sunday, February 10, 2013
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Amsterdam's bocce court and building on the city's South Side is pictured
Amsterdam's bocce court and building on the city's South Side is pictured

— Amsterdam Mayor Ann Thane is looking to rein in control of the city-owned bocce facility on the South Side.

With little information to go on, Thane is calling for the Port Jackson Bocce Club to update its status and provide details on whether the facility has proper insurance and a liquor license.

“I am very curious,” Thane said Friday about the facility run as an exclusive club for members.

Efforts to reach the club’s president, Fifth Ward Alderman Richard Leggiero, were unsuccessful Friday.

Thane has been trying to reach Leggiero to cover some basics of the decades-old facility and learned recently former Mayor Joseph Emanuele signed a 10-year contract with the club.

It calls for a payment to the city of $1 per-year through 2017 for use of the bocce courts and building.

The agreement also calls for the club to indemnify the city with a $1 million insurance policy–and there’s no copy of that policy at City Hall.

“It [raises] the question, what’s going on over there. Do they have an alcohol permit?” Thane said.

She said it’s her understanding members are sold beer there, but it’s unclear how many members there are and how much they pay for membership.

The South Side facility, operating for decades, is among features of the neighborhood highlighted by the city looking to lure investors to the former Chalmers Knitting Mill site that’s been leveled and prepared for development.

Whether it’s being used to its full potential is another question Thane is hoping to answer.

“I think that they do have leagues or clubs who come from around the area and play tournaments and things. But is there something more we can do with the facility?” Thane said.

The New York Liquor Authority’s license search function shows no liquor license for any facility on Erie Terrace where the city’s bocce courts are situated.

Amsterdam Fourth Ward Alderman David Dybas said the situation highlights the need for the city to better coordinate its paperwork and facilities.

He said he, as well, has little information about the South Side court and its operations.

“I know there’s a bocce club there,” Dybas said.

He said he believe’s it’s Thane’s job to try to gather such information.

“I would say it’s up to the mayor to have whatever is required to be had,” Dybas said.

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