Friday, October 2, 2009
Shorts from the Recreation Commission, September 16
• New members. Chair of the Recreation Commission (RecCom), Mark Spears, welcomed Rick Amodei and Noreen Ma as potential new commissioners, pending approval of the Board of Selectmen. Returning members Jeff Bloomfield and Dave Moreau were also present at the meeting. Randy Laughlin has resigned. It is the first time the commission has been fully staffed in over a year.
• Eagle Scout project. Last spring, Eagle Scout candidate Dillon Mariano proposed a project to build a backboard for town use. At the time, the commission voted to support his project with funds of up to $1,500. Spears reported that Mariano completed the project on Spalding field at a cost of $1,300. Moreau added that the backboard turned out great and should receive a lot of use.
• Programs. Recreation Director Holly Hamilton reported the Summer Fun Program was outstanding this year. She said the program ran seamlessly; parents and children were happy and the staff was wonderful. The program netted a profit of $5,800. The fall programs have just begun. The adult program options have been expanded this year with positive feedback.
For the past year or so, Hamilton has been using the department’s email distribution list to inform the community when a class has openings or when a new class becomes available. The source for the distribution list is the records of participants in the recreation programs. She said the mass emails have been very effective in boosting enrollment. Hamilton also noted that those who do not wish to continue to receive emails can send replies to have their names removed from the list.
• Status of accounts. Hamilton reviewed the finances with the commission. Like all town departments, Recreation has been making an effort to reduce costs. A $1,200 sanitation savings was achieved by reducing the number of porta-potties from two to one at both Spalding and Banta-Davis fields. To date, there have been no complaints. When asked about profitability of the programs, Hamilton answered they run classes as long as they will break even or earn a profit. They do not run classes at a loss unless they think it will build interest for the future.
• Benfield ballfield. The RecCom plans to keep apprised of the Benfield housing project, since the property includes space deeded for the purpose of building a ballfield. There is also $25,000 available through the Community Preservation Act for a site plan for the athletic field. Commissioners were unclear how long the money will remain allocated to the RecCom if it is not used. Spears urged the members of the commission to get involved, declaring something must get done this year. He also conceded Benfield may not be the best choice for a ballfield but it may be the only choice.
• Highland Building use. The RecCom stated its interest as a potential user of the Highland building when the town voted to pay $445,000 to have the building restored. Commissioners agreed that a RecCom member should be involved in the Highland committee meetings as the planning and restoration move forward.
• Ice rink. The group voted to spend up to $1,300 to replace the liner for the skating rink that is erected each winter in Kimball’s parking lot. Volunteers are needed to set up the rink in late November.
• Assignments. Spears was asked by the other members to continue another term as chairman. Ma volunteered to act as recording secretary. Liaisons for the Highland Building project, the Benfield project and the Community Preservation Committee will be assigned at the next meeting. ∆
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