2006-04-27 / News

Council unhappy about ball field conditions at Lawn Avenue School

By Dotti Farrington

Town employees failed to meet an agreement made last October with school and baseball league volunteers about ball field maintenance because someone did not respond to an e-mail, according to Town Administrator Bruce Keiser.

Keiser told the Town Council Monday that the lack of maintenance resulted from "an e-mail failure." He did not identify the people involved or give many specifics. He promised that communication via e-mail would get a response and that co-ordination, supervision and inspection of work would be provided to ensure that the ball fields are put into good condition and kept that way.

Keiser also reported that a contractor has been hired to repair fencing and the backstop at the ball fields, and that the work should be done within three weeks.

Last fall, the councilors promised baseball league leaders and school officials that the fields at the Jamestown School would be in good shape for the spring season. The councilors expressed their anger that efforts to have the work done apparently fell apart.

Councilman William Kelly reported "the fields are nowhere near" what they need to be. He said he had "real concern about supervision and about the gullies and divots" in the fields. Councilor Barbara Szepatowski pointed out that workers had since last October to co-ordinate assignments. She also referred to an archeological study that was needed before any deep regrading could be done, and "it was not organized enough to be done this year."

Keiser said that the people responsible "thought the work was on course." He said a field cleanup scheduled for Saturday, April 29, ought to have a helpful impact on the condition of the fields. Some important work on the field turf could be expected in the late summer or the fall when the town can complete a plan for using treated wastewater to irrigate the school's ball fields.

Earlier this month, school officials reviewed the failure of the town to meet its agreements about the fields. The schools last winter agreed to stop charging the town for the use of the Lawn Avenue School gymnasium if the town maintains the ball fields north of the school.

The schools withheld approval for a $3,000 backstop at the ball fields because of the failed agreement and because the quality of the backstop was questioned.

Councilman Michael Schnack, the council liaison to the School Committee, told the committee he was embarrassed by the unkempt and unsafe conditions of the ball field. He brought the concerns to Keiser for resolution.

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