There is a new group in Fulton County that says it is looking to make the community a better place to live.
Matt Sherman, who grew up in Meco and resides in the town of Johnstown, said he and his wife were inspired to start the Fulton County Young Professionals after moving back to Johnstown from Virginia Beach, Va., in July.
Sherman said he wanted to see some improvements made to increase the quality of life in Fulton County, and help people have a more positive attitude about living in the area. Rather than be hypocritical and not do anything to help the area improve, Sherman said, he and his wife decided they had to get other like-minded people together to see what they could do.
Matt Sherman of Johnstown, a member of the Fulton County Young Professionals, sprays water onto the ice-skating rink at Littauer Field on Union Street in Gloversville on Dec. 27.
The Leader-Herald/Bill Trojan
"So we put up a page on Facebook," he said. "It's been growing ever since."
According to the group's Facebook page, the Fulton County Young Professionals is a group "for the young professionals of Fulton County, N.Y., to get together and have open minded discussion[s] about the community and how to make the community a better place to live."
Sherman said the age limit for the group is 39. However, he said, anyone can volunteer their ideas or time to the group.
Jared Hammond of Gloversville, a member of the group, said professional essentially means anyone who is contributing to society.
Sherman said the first meeting in September went well, and eight or nine people showed up.
"That helped us build a real good core group of people," he said.
While 10 to 15 people show up for the group's meetings, Sherman said, if all of those involved showed up they would have far more than that. Most of the people with the group are in their late 20s and early 30s, he said.
Sherman noted the group is able to promote local businesses with its meetings; every meeting is at a local restaurant .
The volunteers with the group have spent their time the last few months working on creating and maintaining the outdoor ice-skating rink at Littauer Field in Gloversville.
Sherman said Gloversville Mayor Dayton King came up with the idea. Sherman said the group volunteered to put the project together and get it up and running.
Sherman said the rink required some serious work, but the group was able to reach out to others in the community for help.
For instance, they found a person who helps them do work clearing snow off the rink.
The Gloversville Firefighters Association also donated a rink resurfacer.
Also, the group has been accepting donations to keep the lights turned on at the rink.
"It's so the city doesn't have to foot the bill," he said.
The group also has established a Facebook page for the Community Ice Rink, where people can see a schedule for its use and find out how to make donations to keep the lights on.
The group also did a leaf pickup in November that has recently become the issue of a grievance by the Gloversville Department of Public Works employees' union.
King has said the grievance was filed over the leaf pickup, which has been a job traditionally done by the DPW. King said the FCYP came up with the idea and he thought it was wonderful.
"Any time that happens, we've got to foster that. There was no malintention to be taking work away from anybody," King said previously.
Steve Kemmer, president of the city's Civil Service Employees Association, which spans several departments in the city, including DPW, declined to comment on the grievance previously, saying it was a private matter.
King referenced the Fulton County-wide spring cleanup and the volunteer work done at Myers Park as examples of a "fantastic job" done by volunteers and other times when volunteers have performed duties that might otherwise be assigned to public works employees across the county.
"We did lay off four [DPW] employees, but we're not laying off employees to get it [the work] all done for free," King said previously. "I applaud volunteers for getting out and doing what they can and are willing to do."
Sherman said Wednesday while the group has no definite plans yet, besides completing the paperwork to become an official non-profit group, they do have many ideas.
He said the group's focus will continue to be on keeping everything positive for Fulton County and improving the area. Not only for the people who are here, he said, but to bring back people who left, and for future generations.
Sherman said having a positive attitude and trying to make life better in the county is more productive than saying part of the county "sucks" and giving up.
"If we can work to change it, it will be a better place," he said.
For more information about the Fulton County Young Professionals or the Community Ice Rink, people can visit their Facebook pages at www.facebook.com/fultoncoyp and www.facebook.com/gloveicerink?ref=mf, respectively.