The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, June 13, 2008

Retiring Chair Allen Deary explains RecCom’s role

The Recreation Commission (RecCom) did not have an official meeting on Monday night, June 9, because only one member showed up; but Allen Deary, retiring chair, provided an off-the-cuff overview of the RecCom’s mission to two potential new members, Kevin Smith and Ray Jimenez.

According to Deary, the RecCom has several major tasks: to provide sport, craft and other recreational programs for all ages, to maintain current playing fields, as well as plan for and implement future fields and other recreational facilities, to prepare and implement the department’s budget and finally to interface with other town organizations and committees including sports leagues, the Council on Aging, the Community Preservation Committee and the Trails Committee.

The commission employs Recreation Director Holly Hamilton and Assistant Director Marcy Guttadauro to run the recreation programs, which are largely funded through class fees. However, Deary noted that it will be harder to provide affordable programs to the community if the Carlisle School increases usage fees for their facilities.

One issue facing the board is providing enough playing fields to meet the current demand. In the fall of 2006 Carlisle failed to pass a Warrant Article to expand and enhance the fields at Banta -Davis. Meanwhile, Concord recently completed construction of two new fields at the Concord-Carlisle Regional High School. Deary expressed concern that Concord might someday start to levy a user fee for Carlisle members of Concord-Carlisle sports leagues if Carlisle does not provide their fair share of playing fields. He believes in the upcoming year the commission should explore possible new fields on Banta-Davis, Foss Farm and/or the Benfield property.

Overuse of existing Carlisle fields is a problem the RecCom needs to tackle. Deary noted that the town’s new organic fertilizing system works well on fields with normal use, but cannot support fields that are overused. The soccer field at Banta-Davis, which experiences nearly constant use from early spring to late fall, is starting to show signs of wear. The RecCom will need to decide how to proceed with fertilizing all the playing fields in the future.

Another item Deary would like to see on the agenda for the upcoming year would be to work with the Trails Committee to build a connecting path between Spalding Field and Banta-Davis. The path would enable the school to access more sports fields, provide a course for the middle school cross country team and provide a recreational path for the community. The path that formerly connected the two fields no longer exists. Community Preservation Act money could possibly be used for the project.

Longer term, he believes the RecCom should explore building a community center in conjunction with the Carlisle School and the Council on Aging. “Well . . . there’s a lot more to this than I thought” exclaimed Smith at the end of the overview.

Allen Deary and Norm Lind are retiring from the RecCom after several years of service. Mark Spears, Dave Moreau and Randy Laughlin are continuing as commission members. An alternate position is currently unfilled. ∆

© 2008 The Carlisle Mosquito