By Joshua Maloni
The Village of Lewiston has offered to provide park space to Niagara Wheatfield Amateur Athletics for use in flag football practice and games.
NWAA’s Vic Eydt, son of Deputy Mayor Vic Eydt, appeared before the board on Monday to explain, “We’re scheduled to start our flag program tomorrow. The school (Niagara Wheatfield) told us in the middle of last week that we could not use the facilities after 30-some years. So, we’re kind of behind the 8-ball in trying to find somewhere.
“We have calls into Niagara County Parks. They said they’d be more than willing to help – it’s just everything they have available is under water at the moment.”
Eydt said he hadn’t heard back from the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation. “We’re trying everything local – the fire departments and the Town of Lewiston and such – it’s just that everybody is under water.”
With 130 NWAA youth now without a field, Eydt said, “I come tonight to see if there is a possibility we could use Academy Park, temporarily, so the kids have somewhere to go, somewhere to play.”
Mayor Anne Welch said Academy Park, like the other sites, is flood-prone.
“We get a lot of water up there, too,” she said.
Trustee Nick Conde asked, “Can't they share space up on the top (at Richard F. Soluri Park at the Lewiston plateau)?”
Welch told Eydt, “Lew Port Youth Football also (uses) Soluri Park – have you talked to them at all? It’s probably a better field for you to use.”
Eydt said he didn’t know if that would be acceptable to the two programs’ respective boards.
Conde said, “Should we reach out to them and talk to them about it?”
With Eydt agreeable to that idea, Welch asked Clerk Shannon Fundis to provide him with contact information for The Lewiston Porter Youth Football League.
The mayor said, “I know that the park up there does not get an overabundance of water, whereas Academy Park, it has in the past, had some low-lying areas that just fill with water. Now we’re into the rain again, so that’s what happens.”
Nevertheless, as Soluri Park usage logistics are worked out, trustees said NWAA could use Academy Park.
“If you stay over to the Cayuga-Ninth Street area over there – I know it floods over by the monument, somewhat – if it's dry enough over there, we’ll find a place for you,” Welch said. “We’ll fit you into Academy Park until we can figure (Soluri Park) out.”
She noted the plateau has two areas large enough to accommodate football practice.
“If we have to go up to Academy Park in the meantime, that’s fine, too,” she said.
Fundis requested NWAA provide proof of insurance before any activities commence in the village.
Eydt said the flag football program is two months. “Weather-permitting, practices are two nights a week (6-8 p.m.),” he noted. “Right now, they’re scheduled for Tuesday/Thursday, but they can move a day or two either direction, weather-permitting. And then games on Sundays (run roughly 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.).”
The play area will be coned and not striped.
As NWAA continues to scout-out sites, “We’re just looking for some grass right now, so we have something for the kids,” Eydt said.
Board members approved use of the two fields on a 3-0 vote. Trustee Dan Gibson was excused, and Trustee Eydt abstained.