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Parks & Rec roundup: Fruit Street turf project complete

by | Sep 1, 2022 | Featured: News, News

Fruit Street turf

The new Fruit Street turf has been installed and is hosting sports events. PHOTO/JERRY SPAR

At its meeting on Wednesday, the Parks & Recreation Commission discussed the Fruit Street fields, Community Preservation Committee projects, Sandy Beach and fall programming.

The Fruit Street fields turf replacement project is officially completed. “This is the best news of the day, as far as I’m concerned,” said Parks & Recreation Director Jay Guelfi. “The town charged us with replacing that field. They gave us $1.7 million to do it. They wanted it done before soccer season started, and it’s done. And it’s under budget. If you’ve been there and seen it, it’s awesome.”

CPC-funded projects discussed

The commission discussed potential projects to propose to the Community Preservation Committee (CPC) this fall. Project ideas discussed included a long-term plan for the Fruit Street fields property, the reconfiguration of Pyne Field to accommodate a Little League field and cricket pitch, the addition of shaded areas to the dog park, the installation of a gate at Sandy Beach, the construction of an EMC Park amenities building, the addition of security cameras to various properties and the construction of a multi-use arena. At its next meeting, the commission will continue discussions before formalizing which projects to move forward.

Guelfi also shared that bids have been received for the CPC-funded skate park, and construction is expected to begin in the spring.

Sandy Beach Ad Hoc Committee has plans

Commissioner Cynthia Esthimer shared recommendations from the Sandy Beach Ad Hoc Committee regarding improvements to be made for next year’s summer season. The committee intends to explore options for installing a gate at Sandy Beach in order to better regulate visitor access. The group also discussed adding signage in additional languages (like Portuguese) and noted that filling a head lifeguard position for next year is a top priority.

Fall updates shared

Registration is open for Parks & Recreation’s fall programming for youth and adults as well as winter in-town basketball for Grades K-8. Guelfi reported strong registration numbers entering September. …

In preliminary discussions regarding its fiscal year 2024 budget process, the commission discussed the possibility of shifting Parks & Rec’s part-time program staff to full-time employees. Guelfi noted that as the town has grown and changed, residents are expecting more from the department, and increased staff time is needed to meet the demand. Although the commissioners recognized the importance of adequate staffing, commission chair Dan Terry noted that the commission must consider questions of fiscal responsibility and be cognizant of increasing costs. The discussion will continue as part of the commission’s upcoming budget process.


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