New mower, playing fields in Easthampton park’s future
EASTHAMPTON — With spring approaching, city parks officials are looking forward to a new lawn mower and plans for three new athletic fields.
Parks and Recreation Director John Mason said the department was excited to move forward with the projects after the City Council last week approved $27,000 in Community Preservation Act funds for the design of the fields and $17,000 to purchase a commercial mower that the Parks and Recreation Department requested a few years ago.
Of the fields being designed, two baseball or softball diamonds are planned to be near other existing diamonds by pavilion three. A new soccer field would be added to the three soccer fields at the end of the park.
Mason said the programs that use the fields, including youth baseball and soccer leagues, approached him about adding more fields.
“The number of participants in those programs, not only in youth sports but also adult sports, just keeps growing,” he said. “The fields get extensive use, especially on the weekends.”
Nonotuck Park currently has three full-size soccer fields, one for youth and seven baseball or softball diamonds.
While the fields are being designed, the department will look for grants and other possible funding sources to construct them. Mason said he could not estimate the total cost of the project, but added he hopes it will be completed within a year.
Mason said the department’s new commercial mower will allow workers to mow the parks’ grass much faster than it currently can with a smaller mower he estimated is about 20 years old.
“We’ve been making do with what we have,” he said. “But to be more efficient and get more projects done, we need to get mowing done faster.”
The mower was one of about 10 purchases Mayor Michael A. Tautznik asked the City Council to fund from the city’s five-year capital improvement plan, drafted in 2010. The plan also includes a request from the Parks and Recreation Department for a new office building at a cost of $500,000, but no steps have been taken to design or build one.
Rebecca Everett can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.