Town seeks volunteers to help patch turf
By Elizabeth Izzo, Adirondack Daily Enterprise
KEENE VALLEY — The town of Keene is looking for help to kick-start the repair of Marcy Field today.
The field and adjoining airstrip were vandalized in the early morning hours of July 15, when a driver carved deep tire tracks throughout them. The runway is now closed indefinitely and pilots are being directed to the Lake Placid or Lake Clear airports through a Federal Aviation Administration system.
Today, starting at 10 a.m., the town is calling on anyone interested in pitching in to come by and help town employees pick up wayward turf.
“The damage isn’t covered under our insurance because it’s to turf and landscaping,” Keene town Supervisor Joe Pete Wilson Jr. said Sunday. “That’s specifically not covered by our insurance. We’re on our own to cover the cost of repairs.”
It’s still unclear who may have vandalized the field. New York State Police continue to investigate, and the town continues to encourage anyone with information to contact either State Police at 518-897-2000 or the Keene Town Hall at 518-576-4444.
“We don’t have any idea who might have done it, but we’re hopeful to get a break,” Wilson said.
Between waiting for an insurance adjuster to assess the damage, rainy weather and regularly scheduled events at Marcy Field, the town hasn’t been able to start repairing the damage yet. Town officials hope to see some short-term repairs done, starting today, but more long-term repairs likely won’t come for some time. Every Sunday, the Keene Farmers Market arrives at Marcy Field. Every Tuesday, there’s a youth capture the flag program at the field. On Wednesdays, there’s a concert there, Wilson said.
“There’s always something going on,” Wilson said. “We’re going to have to wait until the fall to do a more permanent, long-lasting repair.”
Town employees will lead today’s volunteer work day.
“It’s such a big task, there’s just so much damage,” Wilson said. “The first step is to, by hand, pick up any dislodged turf where possible and put it back into the ruts. … We need a lot of hands to do that work.”
The National Weather Service is predicting possible rain and thunderstorms today, but Wilson hopes they’ll be able to continue work as long as conditions aren’t bad.
“We’re going to have to try, as long as it’s not thundering and lightning,” he said.
Those who can’t make it to the work day but who are interested in helping can donate to a resident-organized fundraiser online at https://tinyurl.com/yuaddksm. As of Sunday, $4,438 of the $10,000 goal had been raised. Wilson said that he is in contact with the organizer of the fundraiser and added that anyone not comfortable with donating funds online can mail a check to the Keene Town Hall with a note that the money is for Marcy Field.
“We’re getting a really strong response from people who want to help,” Wilson said.
After word spread about the vandalism, a local business, Wade Whitney Inc., donated topsoil for Marcy Field. A national organization, the Recreational Aviation Foundation, reached out to let the town know it would like to buy lunch for volunteers who help with the repairs. The town has also fielded calls from private residents who want to pitch in.
“It’s really heartening to get that kind of support. That’s really going to help us do this right,” Wilson said.