Building a large, commercial enterprise next to a cemetery will always raise some concern. After all, you’re talking about the potential for additional traffic and noise near the final resting place of family members or friends. It’s a highly personal matter.
Therefore, it’s no surprise that Afrim Nezaj’s proposed four-field soccer park next to Memory Gardens in Colonie is generating pushback from the cemetery’s owners and people who either own plots or are visitors to the cemetery.
While we understand their concerns, we believe these two entities can coexist as good neighbors.
The primary concern being voiced by opponents is that noise from the youth soccer games will interrupt the solemnity of funeral services at Memory Gardens. Nezaj had hired Chazen Companies to test the sound levels at a soccer complex in Rotterdam while five youth games were being played, and the recordings found the decibel levels to be below the normal level of conversation (60-65 dBs). And if that noise has to travel more than 100 feet to a gravesite, it shouldn’t be enough to interrupt a funeral service. In addition, there will not be a public address system at the fields.
Others worry about the possibility of people parking at and crossing through Memory Gardens to get to the soccer complex. To address that, Nezaj stated he will build 377 parking spaces at the complex, and he is willing to construct a fence along the border with the cemetery to prevent people from cutting through.
What about the 75-foot high light towers and the multi-use sports dome that opponents say will detract from the natural beauty of Memory Gardens’ surroundings? The land Nezaj plans to purchase is currently zoned for commercial use. If a developer bought the land and built an office park there, a series of three-story, brick-and-glass buildings has far more potential to be visually distracting than light towers and a dome?