The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, October 29, 2010

RecCom debates regionalization options

As the Recreation Commission (RecCom) representative on the town’s Regionalization Committee, Rick Amodei was asked to research consolidating services with other towns. The commission heard his findings at their meeting on October 21.

Amodei met recently with Concord’s Recreation Director Danner DeStephano and Concord’s Deputy Town Manager Douglas Meagher to discuss the possibility of merging the recreation activities for Concord and Carlisle. The conclusion of the meeting was that Concord is not interested in taking over the administration of Carlisle’s programs. The reason given was that both sets of recreation programs are run efficiently and there would not be any real economy of scale by combining them. Concord Recreation currently allows Carlisle residents to enroll in their programs and plans to continue to do so. They would be happy to accommodate increased enrollment if Carlisle stopped offering recreation programs, Amodei said.

Amodei highlighted the difference between regionalizing, in which the two programs would be combined and offered through one source, versus elimination of the department, in which case the programs unique to Carlisle would cease to exist. He said, “If we want to deliver the same programs, regionalization is not an option. Cutting services is an option and we would just expect our community to go elsewhere. Our pottery class would not survive, the summer camp would be eliminated.”

Amodei also explained that regionalization with towns other than Concord does not make sense because Carlisle is already merged with Concord in sports and education. If the Recreation Department were to be eliminated, Carlisle residents could continue to sign up for recreation programs in all the surrounding communities.

Spears expressed concern about field maintenance if the recreation department were regionalized with Concord or eliminated. He said, “The DPW could take over field maintenance but they have other priorities. During a bad snow year, there would be less money for fields.” He also wondered if the DPW would need to hire additional personnel, thereby eliminating the money saved from regionalizing.

Boardwalk between Spalding Field and Banta-Davis

In other business, the RecCom and the Trails Committee are interested in replacing the boardwalk connecting Spalding Field with the Banta-Davis fields. The boardwalk is badly damaged from water and beavers. During times of high water, the boardwalk is submerged. According to RecCom member Jeff Bloomfield, the liaison between the two committees, there are two proposals being discussed by the Trails Committee. The first is to replace the boardwalk with a new eight-foot by 400-foot structure that would be elevated three to four feet on concrete footings. The estimated cost of this project is close to $80,000. An alternative plan is to raise the walk to one and a half feet above the ground and widen it from four to six feet. The estimated cost is approximately $20,000 in materials, but this option would not be beaver-proof and would be under water when the water level is high. Bloomfield did say it may be possible to get a permit to trap and remove the beavers and there may be ways to control the water level.

Although no vote was taken, the group agreed they would like to support the project and would pursue avenues of funding. Spears asked Bloomfield to invite a representative from the Trails Committee to the November RecCom meeting.

Highland update

Alan Carpenito, a member of the Highland Building Committee, presented a report on the status of the Highland Building. There have been two rounds of requests for bids for the work on phase one (repair the porch, re-side, re-roof and paint) but both times the bids were rejected. The Highland Committee decided to wait until the January or February to seek another set of bids, planning for the repair work to be completed over the summer when school is not in session.

Carpenito said the committee would also like to start planning for phase two of the project; however, they have not gotten much response from interested parties. Spears stated “Interest [in RecCom using the building] hasn’t changed. Our long-term plan is for a recreation center and a place to use instead of the school. Finances are grueling and we are not interested in a renovation right now.” ∆

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