Town of Potsdam to chip in startup cash for library's cross country ski program
BY ADAM ATKINSON
North Country This Week
POTSDAM — The town will chip in $6,000 to fund a cross country ski rental program for families run by Potsdam Public Library.
The library had requested help from the town to help fund a cross country ski program last year. Deputy Supervisor Marty Miller told the board at their meeting Jan. 11 that the program was receiving support from both the library and SUNY Potsdam and would be managed by the library.“The group is seeking $6,000 to start the program from the town rec fund,” Miller said.
William Eckert, the library’s adult program coordinator, was on hand to help make the pitch to the town board at the January meeting.
Eckert said most parents wouldn’t purchase skis for their child given the expense and how the child would grow out of them after a season. And, opportunities for rentals for children are limited to a few locations where you can only use the skis at specific spots like Higley Flow park and Nicandri Nature center, limiting where families can take their children to ski.
“But, if you want to explore some of the really wonderful assets we have naturally around here to cross country ski you have to have a pair,” Eckert said.
Eckert said the program “fit right in” with both the library’s borrowing program for books, media and other things, and its PPL on the Outside program, a trail and outdoors program he put together during the pandemic.
Eckert said the library would use the funding to buy 20 pairs of skis from Grass River Outfitters in Canton for the program. “They would get it on a rate that would be beneficial,” he said.
SUNY Potsdam would house the skis for the program and the college’s students would do the basic maintenance and waxing.
He estimated that seasonal rental of the skis might cost around $100 per season, but 10 pairs of the skis could be earmarked for people of lower income.
Eckert said the program would ultimately become self-sustaining. “So for the town, the $6,000 would be a one-time thing and there would be no liability, no responsibility. It would be our program, the library’s program,” Eckert said.
Initially in the discussion Miller recommended the town fund half of the program and the library the other half, along the same lines as the arrangement the town recently approved with the village to support the pickle ball courts at Sandstoner Park.
“I think $6,000 is a fair price to provide to the library for the program,” Trustee Lynn Hall said later during discussion. “It’s a self sustaining program. It’s a nice collaboration with the Potsdam library.”
Trustees Allyssa Hardiman and Toni Kennedy said they both supported funding the endeavor at the full $6,000 as well.
Town attorney Francis Cappello is crafting a contract for the town to sign with the library which holds the town harmless of any liability for the program.