Softball field back on the roster
Back in May, the Representative Town Meeting (RTM) -- with many members citing the economic climate -- slashed $400,000 in requested funds, money that would have been used to take down a house on the 9-acre Parsells property on Hoydens Hill and put a softball field, and parking, in its place.
There were some who felt the field funds should have been approved despite the economy, to make things a bit more fair. There are currently two boys little leagues in Fairfield -- Fairfield National Little League and Fairfield American Little League -- and each organization has its own dedicated field.
The girls softball league however, does not have a single field it can call its own, according to Parks and Recreation Department Director Gerry Lombardo. As a result, the softball players are relegated to multi-purpose fields.
Lombardo said if the RTM had approved the requested funding in May, "we would have had a shovel in the ground today."
Lombardo said Wednesday at the Parks and Recreation Commission meeting that he will be requesting $400,000 once again. However, if all goes well, he may be able to come to the town bodies with a slightly smaller figure. Lombardo briefly mentioned that a business recently approached the town about helping with a
civic project, so First Selectman Ken Flatto suggested the business work on the removal of the house on the Parsells property. Things still have to be worked out, but if the demolition can be done at no cost to the taxpayers, the town will save about $10,000 to $15,000.
Flatto is also hopeful that RTM members might more apt to approve the request its second time before the body, though there are some new faces on the RTM.
"A number of RTM members who voted no said they don't mind coming back. They just didn't want to do it last year," said Flatto.
Flatto said town officials want the house removed from the Parsells property sooner rather than later, as it is "not safe at this point."
"Part of it is literally falling apart," he said.
"It's in deplorable shape," added Lombardo.
The building is relatively small, maybe 1,000 to 1,200 square feet, but its central location precludes a ball field from going up while the house is still standing. Flatto thinks it's a great location for the girls softball field.
It would be set back and "there are almost no houses nearby," said Flatto, adding, "It would be surrounded on three sides by woods and a driving range. It would be a field the neighborhood would hardly know is there."
If the funding request is approved, Lombardo said work on the actual ball field can get started by next fall.
"[The softball players] want one field where they know they can play their games," said Lombardo.
"It's time for them to have their own field," added Parks and Recreation Commission member Dante Gallucci, "And I can't think of a more mellow use than a girls softball field."