Friday, September 19, 2008
Recreation Commission shorts, September 14
• New members. Acting chair Mark Spears welcomed new committee member Jeff Bloomfield. Kevin Smith and Rick Amodei are also considering joining the committee but were unable to make the Sunday night meeting.
• Summer program. The summer program exceeded expectations. Recreation Director Holly Hamilton said that numbers of both staff and buses were cut in half and consequently profitability increased. The staff reported the workload was greater, but they learned more and had a high-quality employment experience. The program had to turn down applicants for employment but offered a community service option to those students. Several took advantage of the offer and provided much needed support to the staff.
Enrollment was on par with last year in the kindergarten through third grade programs. Enrollment for fourth grade and above was very low. RecCom member Randall Laughlin suggested researching what the Concord summer program offers to older children. Hamilton and the RecCom’s administrative assistant, Marcy Guttadauro, will look into alternatives for next summer.
Spears asked if the Recreation Department offers community service opportunities other than the summer program. Several ideas were suggested such as lining the fields, cleaning the tennis courts, helping children get to afternoon activities, or shoveling the ice skating rink. Guttadauro will add a community service section to the brochure.
• Fall programs. A variety of programs are offered for the fall. A star gazing event was held on September 4 and was well attended. The hope is to run this free program, open to the entire community, once a month.
The department has historically offered seniors a 15% discount, but had to eliminate it because the programs were operating at a loss. Hamilton is searching for a way to provide a break for seniors and still break even. Another extra cost is credit card fees. Now that online registration is available, twice as much checks. Recreation pays a 3% fee for each transaction. No decision was made in how to deal with the extra expense.
• Field status. According to committee member Dave Moreau, the fields are in great shape this year. It is not clear whether the organic treatment has been applied for the fall. The fields are heavily used but not to capacity. The department has been experiencing high electric bills because the well pump was filling the irrigation cistern anytime the water level was low. Dan Moseley, who maintains the fields, is trying a different approach to solve the problem. Instead of letting the pump start whenever the water level is low, he only allows it to run a few hours before the fields are to be watered.
• Link to Banta-Davis. Each year, the RecCom focuses on a project for the community and Spears asked the group for suggestions. Laughlin offered to spearhead an effort to repair and expand a pathway from Spalding Field to the playing fields on the Banta-Davis Land. This would allow more teams to practice at Banta-Davis as well as provide the Carlisle Middle School cross-country team a safer, more pleasant running/racing route. Laughlin also suggested turning the “wasteland” behind the fields at Banta-Davis into useful space.
• Other ideas for projects. Phyllis Hughes, the liaison between RecCom and the COA, suggested exploring the possibility of building a community center on the land between the library and Village Court.
A new field at either Banta-Davis or the Benfield property is another possible goal. On one hand, sports teams are experiencing declining enrollment so the need for more fields may be reduced. On the other hand, Concord sports organizations such as Concord-Carlisle Youth Soccer or Concord-Carlisle Youth Baseball have threatened Carlisle residents with an additional fee if Carlisle does not provide more playing space. According to Spears, Carlisle accounts for 30% of the enrollment but only 10% of the fields.∆
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