Friday, February 27, 2004
RecCom tells FinCom: we're desperate for space
Maureen Tarca, director of the Recreation Commission (RecCom), appeared before the Carlisle Finance Committee (FinCom) on February 11 to present a budget of $76,212, consistent with the FinCom guideline. In addition, she gave an update on operations, explained how program fees are used, and spoke of the future, including ideas for dealing with space limitations currently impacting program offerings.
The RecCom offers programs for adults, seniors, and school-aged kids, including tennis, fitness, art courses, skiing, basketball, and a youth summer camp. It maintains Banta-Davis and Spalding Fields and the Diment Tot Lot and tennis courts. Carlisle teens volunteer significant community service to support recreation projects and programs.
Fees support programs
Tarca explained that many RecCom costs are supported by fees, and are therefore not included in the budget. Where an expense can be linked to a program, money from the RecCom's revolving account ("53D account") is used. As a result, the RecCom was able to help the school by purchasing electric lifts for the basketball hoops, hockey boards, nets, and goals for use by the school team, fencing on Banta-Davis and Spalding Fields, and refurbishing of the track around the Banta-Davis soccer field. In addition, the revolving account pays for salaries, rentals and other program expenses.
Much of the RecCom budget, which includes only items paid for by the town, is devoted to field maintenance of $47,326. There is no RecCom program that uses the fields, and therefore no basis for using the 53D revolving account to charge back the costs. FinCom Chair Lisa Jensen-Fellows suggested charging the Concord-Carlisle Youth Soccer and Youth Baseball organizations that use the fields. Tarca said Carlisle students make up a significant percentage (one-third) of those programs and use Concord fields for free. She feared billing those organizations could cause bad feelings, as happened when Concord Recreation attempted a similar strategy. In addition, she hopes in the future to obtain financial help from those organizations if a site is found for a new field.
Playing fields, community space needed
The construction of four tennis courts on Banta-Davis, approved at town meeting last year, is entering phase two. This will provide much-needed expansion of the tennis program, which now must limit participation. When the courts are complete, the two existing tennis courts by the school parking lot will be converted to basketball.
There is also a need for a soccer and a baseball field. The Benfield purchase, if approved, could provide a site. (See page 1.) Tarca noted a new field costs approximately $100,000. A skating rink was built this winter using funds gifted to the RecCom by a defunct cross-country skiing group.
"We are desperate for community space," said Tarca, noting that programs for adults and school-aged kids are limited because space is "maxed out," and "there is nowhere to hold preschool programs." She said she has looked at modular classrooms and tent-type structures as alternatives to building, and expressed the hope that if the school building moves forward, community space is part of the plan.
Jensen-Fellows congratulated Tarca on her presentation and "the excellent job you're doing." Tarca responded that in spite of the challenges, "It's a lot of fun."
© 2004 The