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Parents: Soccer Club's Situation is Unfair

Three Village Soccer Club hosted a meeting on Monday regarding the South P Lot soccer fields.

More than 400 parents and kids attended an informational meeting hosted by the Three Village Soccer Club on Monday, airing grievances that added up to one sentiment: they believe that Stony Brook University is being unfair to the club in its negotiations regarding the South P Lot soccer fields.

"I just feel the University in this whole episode is being very heavy-handed in negotiations. We've given them a lot and they're not giving back to us," said Jerry McKnight, a seven-year resident of Three Village. "It's going to be a win-lose situation."

Another parent, Mike Brunken, a 14-year resident, said he doesn't personally have a problem with what the University needs. Stony Brook officials have said more field space is needed for the University's growing club sports programs.

"But absorbing the cost of the development when we already had [the fields] developed is flat-out unfair, and the duration of the permit is far too short," he said.

Michael Arens, the University's assistant vice president for Government and Community Affairs, represented the University at the meeting Monday night.

"We know this is an important program. I’m here to listen to your questions," he said. "We’ve been talking a lot, and at the same time we realize that we’re going to work out a solution where we’re going to continue to share this property."

Echoing previous statements made by University officials, Arens also said: "The university serves the students first. That is our priority. I’m sure you would understand that. That’s first and foremost where we need to begin."

Olinda McGee, a 15-year resident, said she understands the University's needs.

"Point taken," she said. "But we support the University. We are part of the University community. We're not being unreasonable."

The University and the community at large have sometimes clashed in the past over land use, such as the annexing part of the Gyrodyne company's Flowerfield property by eminent domain and the building of a hotel on campus. But State Assemb. Steve Englebright, D-Setauket, said the soccer field issue is an opportunity to "build that bridge between the campus and the community even stronger." He suggested that the Stony Brook students get more involved in the Three Village Soccer Club.

"If you could be a part of the lives of the children of the community…I think that that would interlock the destinies of not only the students who are the players but also the students who are the campus," he said.

Some described the overall tone of the meeting – which was attended not only by many parents but also by many of the kids playing in the soccer club – as civil.

"I think it's great that we had the showing that we had," said Brunken, who added that he can scarcely go to a grocery store without seeing people he knows talking about the issue. "The fact that the community cares this much about this is tremendous. Something like this can be with angst, but having the kids here kind of tempered that."

Cindy S November 27, 2012 at 02:56 PM
What SBU fails recognize is that many of the support services it receives comes form the taxpayers aka the local community. Instead of insisting SBU serve its students first, it should consider where the $$ comes from.
Sensible Person November 27, 2012 at 06:56 PM
I hope you realize what you're saying. A UNIVERSITY should not service its STUDENTS first. Without STUDENTS, there is no UNIVERSITY. These are your future doctors, lawyers, and businessmen who are going to run a country when YOU are retired. What YOU fail to realize is that Stony Brook is a REKNOWN institution that continues to put the words "Stony Brook" on national headlines each and everyday. Without the University, Stony Brook becomes just another nameless Long Isalnd town the rest of the Country fails to know exists.
Richard M. Fagan November 27, 2012 at 07:13 PM
Thank You Mitch Pally and the entire Stony Brook Soccer Club Board of Directors for the time and effort you have put in to preserve our Club for the next generation. And thank you to all the students and parents who came to voice their concern about this communitywide issue. As a parent, I am extremely concerned to what the University is trying to do to our youth soccer program. The soccer club has done everything possible to maintain a good relationship with the University. Our kids support their students (as evident at last Saturday's football game), it's time for the University to support our kids. The Soccer Club has been a great tenant for the University. They took a dump and turned it into a highly productive and beneficial piece of property for the community. Now that the hard work is done, the University wants it back leaving the club to renovate another piece of land for the University with no long term guarantees to the club's. As a resident and three village home owner, my concern is on what this proposal will do to our town. First, the fencing along the proposed Stony Brook Road Fields will need to be of substantial height and length. A bit of an urban eye sore for everyone in the community. Second, has the university ever addressed their proposal with the residents of the H section, specifically Hargrove Drive. The stadium lighting is going to be an issue for that local section. Concerned Parent and long time resident, Richard M. Fagan
ConcernedCitizen November 27, 2012 at 07:48 PM
Renowned. Not reknown.
James November 29, 2012 at 12:55 AM
A debt of gratitude is owed to Mitch Pally and Don Hoffman, who as local volunteer TVSC board members (for over twenty years) have tirelessly negotiated in good faith with the University since January on behalf of our 1200 club families. Let us hope that this Friday when these negotiations reconvene that a renewed sense of civic partnership will prevail so that an acceptable compromise can be reached that both honors the proud legacy of this special partnership and creates a pathway forward to an even more dynamic and mutually beneficial collaboration into the future. James Komosinski TVSC Volunteer Marketing Director

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