Adams Parks Commission Mulls Procedures to Deny Field Use
ADAMS, Mass. — The Parks Commission will develop a protocol to follow when field access must be denied because of poor conditions or needed maintenance.
The commissioners on Monday looked to codify past practices and to shore up a protocol that would clearly spell out a chain of command to follow when teams have to be denied field usage after approval.
"Right now, I think it is like we are shooting from the hip," Commissioner Jacob Schutz said. "For our own sake, we have to have something in place ... and if the fields are good they should be played on."
The issue arose months ago after Hoosac Valley High School's lacrosse team was granted use of Renfrew Field by both the commission and the Selectmen. Because the fields were not ready for use, the Department of Public Works informed the town to send Hoosac Valley a letter denying usage.
Selectman James Bush, who was in attendance, said he did inspect the field with the DPW and said Renfrew is not ready for play and needs to be aerated and seeded.
"They can't play on it and they probably won't be able to play on it in May either ... we don't want to lose the field," he said. "Before they book these games they have to know ... we are putting the cart before the horse."
Chairman Scott Cernik said they did ask Hoosac Valley to push out usage to May because it was highly unlikely that the field would be playable in April.
He added that with any approval they make they add the caveat that usage can be revoked if the facility is not ready.
"There is always that disclaimer if the field is playable because we never know what's is going to come with spring," he said.
Schutz said the commissioners do follow some sort of procedure but it is not something they ever voted on.
Some board members thought the entire process should start with the DPW but Schutz said he felt this would put extra duties on an already stressed DPW as well as virtually take the commission out of the picture because it is only a recommending board.
It was agreed that an application should first be filed with the Parks Commission and at any point before or after the Selectmen vote, that the DPW and bring forth its concerns.
Schutz thought the chairman of the commission should meet with the DPW to go over field conditions and if possible make a second recommendation to the Selectmen.
The commission did vote to table the item giving them time to properly draft a policy to consider.
The conversation then moved to lacrosse specifically and Commissioner James Fassell said he did not think the sport should be played on Renfrew at all during the spring.
"I don't think it should be played at Renfrew in the spring I think they can have games up at the college [Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts] on the turf," he said.
DPW Administrative Assistant Marilyn Kolis said this would also be the opinion of the department. Because lacrosse play is so concentrated on certain parts of the field, it wears down the field more than say football or soccer, in which play is more dispersed.
The other commissioners agreed that they did not want to damage the field but felt they could take another look at the field in May. They also felt that they did not want to target a specific sport and not allow them to use specific fields.
Cernik did say he would like to hold a meeting with the school, town officials, and the DPW to go over the issues and to see if it really is a lacrosse-specific problem and what can be done to mediate it.
Dwayne Poirot, technology coordinator and football coach at Hoosac Valley, said he was happy to be part of the conversation and that the school wants to do what it can to help get the field ready and keep it pristine.
In other business, with the proposed Russell Field renovation project slated for spring 2020, the town will need access to additional fields for softball.
"With our lack of softball fields we will have to have an open discussion," he said. "We have three leagues and the high school coming down ... we are going to be in a bind."
Cernik said the high school has invited the leagues to use its fields and the commission felt the town should reach out to Cheshire, Savoy, McCann Technical School, and MCLA to see if the leagues could possibly use their facilities.
He added that the Polanka Grounds and Bowe Field may also be options.
Tags: parks commission, playing fields,
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