Re: Indoor Track

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Posted by Glenn Ribotsky on March 19, 2007 at 15:40:44:

In Reply to: Indoor Track posted by ellen brennan-hearn on March 19, 2007 at 11:56:00:

This letter, still to be found in this website's (and other) archives was sent in August 2000. With perhaps a few organizational/name changes, it could be sent in its entirety today. (The events of 9/11 notwithstanding, it is interesting that, almost seven years later, the same themes are being sounded, and the same points are worthy of being made.)

The Honorable Guy V. Molinari
Office of the Borough President
Borough Hall
Staten Island, NY 10301

Dear Borough President Molinari:

As the current chair of the New York Road Race OmbudsAssociation (NYRROA), I can only applaud your office’s recent decision to place on the “fast track” the construction of Staten Island’s first dedicated indoor track and field facility. This facility, once operational, will not only immeasurably aid the development of the borough’s scholastic track, field, and cross-country programs, but will also be a boon to those weekend athletes looking to enjoy their sport and improve their health. It should help additionally to continue to alter the perception of those outside the borough that Staten Island is merely an adjunct to the rest of the City of New York in the athletic realm—an alteration begun with the efforts to bring minor league baseball to the borough in the person of the Staten Island Yankees.

Nevertheless, I feel it necessary to sound a note of caution, while the project is still in its planning stages. The ultimate success of the facility in all these areas will rest upon the ways in which it is planned, constructed, and operated. Involving those with experience and vision, both with athletic facilities and with track and field programs/events, will be essential. Placing the construction and/or operation in the hands of those with little feel for the specifics of the sport would only serve to undermine all of the best efforts to get such a facility working for the community.

It is for this reason that I, and the executive board of NYRROA, strongly recommend that you involve, both at this early stage of the project and in the future, those individuals and organizations who have expertise in these areas, and allow them real input into the decision making process. Just as your office has recognized NYRROA’s expertise in road racing by consulting with it in organizing the highly successful Semper Fi road race held each autumn, so it should use the expertise of Staten Island’s premier track and field alliance, TRAC (Track Running and Community) in bringing this project to the best possible conclusion.

TRAC’s membership includes a wide variety of accomplished individuals with expertise in athletic programming, facilities design, marketing, publicity, and fundraising, and its diversity is representative of the Island community—both the seriously athletic and the not-so-serious—as a whole. Involving TRAC in a meaningful way throughout the process could only help in the achievement of the ultimate goal—an indoor track and athletic facility used, and taken pride in, by all of Staten Island.


Glenn Ribotsky
New York Road Race OmbudsAssociation

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