ADAMS, Mass. — The Parks Commission on Monday took care of most of the fall requests for field usage. Four separate groups were represented and although a few issues cropped up, all requests were approved.
Celia Norcross represented both Adams Soccer Club and Adams-Cheshire-Savoy Youth Soccer. Both organizations requested the use of Valley Street field. Commissioner Cynthia Bird raised a potential conflict with Berkshire Arts & Technology Charter Public School that also has use of the field in the fall, but Norcross was quick to point out "we've had this situation in the past and we have always worked it out with them."
Commissioner Jake Schutz was concerned with parking issues should Little League baseball and soccer games overlap. Norcross was open to working with Little League and said, "we'd be happy to send them our schedule and work it out with baseball."
Parking has not been an issue in years past. The field request was approved unanimously.
Norcross later inquired about the process by which the soccer programs could donate a storage shed to Valley Street field. She said the leagues are planning a fundraiser to pay for the shed and wanted to know what the town required and if it would be willing to help with the installation. Chairman Scott Czernik said the commission will look into it.
The Adams-Cheshire Softball league was represented by Tim Cappiello for its request to use Reid Field for September and October.
Commissioner James Fassell made the motion to approve but added more.
"I move that we accept the application but with a proviso that the Lassie League will also be putting in an application," he said.
The Lassie League plays at Russell field until the fall when Adams-Cheshire Youth Football moves in, thus necessitating the switch. Cappiello was happy to oblige. "We've coordinated in the past and it has not been a problem," he said.
Bird, who works with the Lassie League, agreed it has not been a problem.
Although both leagues play the majority of their fall games out of town they would maintain a heavy practice schedule at Reid Field. The request was approved 4-0 with Bird abstaining.
Cappiello brought up the recent donation of a scoreboard for Reid Field by Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts. The scoreboard was replaced and is not being used by the college. The existing scoreboard at Reid Field is beyond repair.
"We've worked with some of our sponsors who are contractors about installation and donating time and manpower. We wanted to bring it here to discuss what the process was," Cappiello said.
Czernik said the league needed to reach out to the building inspector and Steve Skrocki the Department of Public Works. The league hopes to have the new scoreboard installed by next spring.
Adams-Cheshire Youth Football, represented by President Mike Mucci, was requesting the use of Russell and Renfrew fields. The Renfrew Field request was free of any conflicts or issues but Russell Field had several.
Currently the Lassie League maintains a fence in the middle of what would be the football practice field.
"The way the fence divides that field, it makes it very difficult to replicate a real game field," Mucci said when asked if it was an issue. Last year, the fence was removed the night before practice started. This year, Lassie League planned to keep it up later into the fall.
Fassell asked how long it takes to take down and put up the temporary fence to which member Bird responded, "a couple hours with enough people."
Selectman James Bush, who attended the meeting, suggested removing the fence and marking the boundary with a chalk line. Although no definite solution was agreed upon, both parties seemed confident they would work it out just as in years past.
The more pressing issue discussed was the lighting problem at Russell Field. Czernik has been talking with Town Administrator Jay Green about the lighting issues.
"I talked to Jay and he is not positive the lights have been fixed yet," Czernik said. Nobody was sure about the condition of the lights. "I was told that some of the lights were having problems, not that there were no lights," Mucci said. The football teams practice until 8 p.m. so later in the year no lights would be an issue.
The town has been reluctant to spend money for repairs at the field because of a pending Community Development Block grant to completely overhaul the complex. News of the grant being awarded is due imminently.
Despite the issues, the request for Russel and Renfrew fields was approved 5-0.
The teams are eager to get on their regular practice field as Adams-Cheshire Youth Football is hosting the Jamboree this year. On Aug. 25, at Hoosac Valley High School, eight youth football programs from all over Berkshire County and beyond will convene and play multiple shortened games throughout the day. Three fields will be set up at the athletic complex at the high school.
"It's an incredible day if you know anyone that plays or is involved with youth football," Mucci said.
Although the grant to redo the Russell Field complex is not guaranteed, the commission discussed options should the town be short one field during the construction process. Czernik said he has already made some progress.
"I reached out to MCLA to discuss the 2020 field shortage ... they are going to work with us. We just need to get some dates together from each of the leagues," Czernik said.
Should the grant be awarded and the field be unavailable the Hoosac Valley softball team, Lassie League, ACS softball, and Adams-Cheshire Youth Football would all be affected to some degree. Fassell is hopeful for the grant being awarded but warned, "I don't like to make plans for things that might not happen."
The commission officially acknowledged and thanked the Berkshire Adult Baseball League for a donation of $200. The league uses Renfrew field and has given donations for the past few years.
The next meeting of the Parks Commission will be on Monday, Sept. 9.
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