Friday, December 2, 2005
Recreation Commission budget initiatives focus on field expansion
The Recreation Commission (RecCom) hopes to improve the town's recreational facilities, and Chair Allen Deary shared their goals and budget initiatives with the Board of Selectmen on November 22. They hope to bring the Banta-Davis Phase 2 build-out plan to Spring Town Meeting with bids to construct the project in hand. "We have been fortunate in accumulating enough money in our Gift Account to cover the preliminary design costs of this project," said Deary. "We hope the boards and citizens of Carlisle will help us achieve this big step in our overall plan for recreation in Carlisle."
Deary reviewed the existing playing fields at Spalding and Banta-Davis. Spalding has one Little League field, one softball field, and one 90-foot baseball diamond. There is also an open field for soccer, field hockey and Frisbee, but since the fields overlap, all those activities cannot go on at the same time. Banta-Davis has one Little League and one softball field, one all-purpose soccer field (also used for field hockey, lacrosse, Frisbee and flag football) and a running track.
Growth in population, over-reliance on Concord fields (Concord is facing a field shortage of its own), growth in the number of programs and the number of kids in the programs and kids playing more than one sport per season, all contribute to the shortage of playing space. Deary also noted the increase in the number of adult groups requiring fields, the emergence of intra-town soccer and baseball, and the increase in women's programs. Such heavy usage is creating friction between field safety and field maintenance. "It is impossible to rest fields," said Deary.
Proposed new fields
Deary went on to say that Banta-Davis has the potential for three additional fields. In fact, layout is complete for two Little League and one multi-purpose field. Once the four planned tennis courts are built at Banta-Davis, the two existing courts near Spalding are slated to be converted to basketball.
He sees Foss Farm as the site for at least one multi-use field. Equestrians can continue to use Foss Farm as well. "This is an opportunity for a strong recreation/conservation partnership," he proffered. Also on the wish list is a multi-purpose playing field on the South Street Benfield land, but there are Indians and salamanders who may determine otherwise (see Next Steps for Benfield Land, August 12, and Benfield Land shelters rare species, September 30).
The immediate RecCom initiative is to build out Banta-Davis and enhance Spalding in the spring. "This resolves tennis, basketball, baseball and softball needs and begins to address multi-purpose field needs," concluded Deary. RecCom can then concentrate on developing multi-purpose fields on Foss Farm and Benfield, two or three years hence. When asked by the Selectmen how many thousands of dollars these initiatives will cost, Deary could only guess that it would be "hundreds of."
© 2005 The