TUPPER LAKE - Town Youth Activities Director Mike Fritts is looking to step up the town's cross-country ski trails this winter and to buy paintball guns so kids can play paintball biathlon.
Fritts won a $2,000 award from the Uihlein-Ironman Sports Fund, through the Adirondack Community Trust. That is double the amount he usually gets from that group.
The money will let the town buy more skis, which it rents out to users at what Fritts called a nominal fee, and some paintball equipment. Last winter, he used some borrowed paintball equipment to let kids simulate biathlon.
"They absolutely loved it," Fritts said.
So he wrote the grant application asking for additional money to further that program, and the Uihlein-Ironman Sports Fund came through.
Fritts said he also has about $1,250 left over from a $10,000 state member-item grant from Assemblywoman Janet Duprey, R-Peru, a few years ago. The two people who oversee the ski trails, John Gillis and Jim Frenette, want to buy a track setter, which would groom grooves for classic nordic ski tracks into the snow, but the town's summer program also needs some new games and sports equipment.
Fritts said it's possible there could be enough money left over from the Uihlein grant and the member-item grant to do both, but he wanted input from the town board before making any decisions.
Town officials were conflicted over which items to prioritize. Town Supervisor Roger Amell said that while a track setter would be a good idea, the summer day camp is more important for the children of the town.
But town Deputy Supervisor Shawn Stuart, who talked about using the ski trails frequently last winter, said he thinks a track setter would be more important, since the trails are popular and many people use them.
Amell told Fritts to draw up a list of things his programs need and note next to them how important they are so the town board can look it over and think about it some more.
The Uihlein-Ironman Sports Fund of Lake Placid has been distributing money to athletes and sports programs in the area for seven years. The fund makes grants to competitive young local athletes with proficiency in regional, national and international levels of sport. Also funded are nonprofit organizations providing programming that introduces the world of winter and summer sports to regional youth, thus creating the next generation of competitive athletes.